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Bodies Found In Clandestine Grave on Brazil-Paraguay Border

December 19, 1995

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) _ Dozens of corpses, which police say may be those of drug-traffickers or smugglers, have been found in a clandestine grave across the border in Brazil, local media reported Tuesday.

The corpses were found Dec. 14 in a shallow ditch in Campo Grande, the capital of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, 60 miles from the Paraguayan border.

News reports said as many as 100 corpses had been found and that several were in an advanced state of decomposition. Many of the victims had broken bones, indicating that they may have been tortured.

The grave was found after a search began for two Paraguayan border customs officials who disappeared on Nov. 20, police here said. Reports that one of the missing officials’ bodies had been found among the victims could not be immediately confirmed.

Officials in Brazil denied any knowledge of the mass grave.

``We know absolutely nothing about any clandestine cemetery,″ Sidney Alberto, spokesman for the state security bureau in Mato Grosso do Sul.

In Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, spokesmen for the Federal Police and the Foreign Ministry also said they know nothing about the reports.

The tropical land border between Brazil and Paraguay is renowned for drug-trafficking and the smuggling of electronic goods, computers, whisky and cigarettes.

An editor at Correio do Estado, a newspaper in Campo Grande, said Tuesday that three to four bodies a day are found in the region, mostly of drug traffickers, car thieves or smugglers.

Paraguayan Police Chief Mario Agustin Sapriza said he would contact Brazilian authorities to launch a joint investigation into the mass grave.

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