At least 44 bodies hidden in over 100 black bags were identified by Mexican officials after they were found buried in a well in the western part of the country earlier in September.

The remains were discovered Sept. 3 in a well outside the city of Guadalajara in the western state of Jalisco after residents reportedly complained about the nasty smell, the BBC reports.

“It saddens me to speak in this way, but society has a right to know what is happening,” Jalisco Security Cabinet Chief Macedonio Tamez Guajardo told Mexican news website Milenio.

Guajardo said the bodies were in various states of decomposition. The Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences said that the 44 people had been identified on Sept. 14.

Authorities are investigating if this linked to six bodies found at an organized crime safehouse in August, Mexico News Daily reported.

This year, the grisly discovery was the second major find of bodies in the Jalisco state after the May discovery of at least 34 victims at two separate properties.

The state is home to Jalisco New Generation Cartel who once shot down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket launcher. They are one of Mexico’s most powerful crime groups.

About 40,000 people have gone missing during Mexico’s 13-year drug war, and clandestine mass graves dot the countryside.

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