mass grave Mexico.
© Reuters
A mass grave in Mexico.
A burial ground holding the dumped remains of 3,000 suspected drug cartel murder victims has been unearthed in northern Mexico.

The gruesome find in the country's Coahuila state contained thousands of skeletal remains, teeth, bullet casings and boots that had been "cooked with acid" and broken up with shovels.

The area was uncovered by Victims for their Rights in Action (Vida), a pressure group representing the families of the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing as a result of drug violence in the Central American nation.

The group was led to the site on Saturday (2 December) after receiving an anonymous tip-off it was being used as an extermination centre by gangsters.

Vida treasurer Óscar Sánchez Viesca told Latin American broadcaster Telesur: "The bodies of the victims were cooked with acid and incinerated in steel drums for hours with the help of diesel, scrap tires and pieces of wood, then they emptied the drums and finished breaking the remains with shovels."

The burial site is around 100m2 and located between two communal farming plots.

"It was a centre of extermination, "said Vida spokesperson Silvia Ortiz, who has been looking for her missing daughter she last saw in November 2004, when she was 16 years old.

The death toll at the site could reach far higher than 3,000, once government officials begin to fully excavate the area.

Forensic medical examiners are expected at the ground within days. They will send the remains to a laboratory in Mexico City for a thorough examination.

The state's Attorney General's Office says the only the criminal group that operates in the area is the Sinaloa Cartel, which was led by Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. But US analysts say the rival Los Zetas crime syndicate has disputed the territory.

Since 2015, Vida has discovered 90,000 skeletal remains in at least 40 clandestine graves around Mexico.