Mexico City: At least 183 bodies have been recovered out of 40 mass graves found in Mexico's northeastern Tamaulipas state on the US border in April, Mexico’s justice minister said.

Police have arrested 74 people in this connection including several local Zetas drug gang leaders and 17 police officers from the San Fernando municipality, where the bodies were found, minister Marisela Morales told journalists on Tuesday.

Authorities also accused the Zetas in the killings of 72 immigrants from Central and South America whose bodies were found piled up at a ranch in the same municipality some 160 kilometres from the US border in August.

Tamaulipas has witnessed an explosion of violence in recent years for whioch battles between the Zetas -- a gang set up in the 1990s by ex-elite soldiers -- and their former bosses, the powerful Gulf cartel is to be blamed.

Further west, mass graves have also been uncovered in the northern city of Durango -- capital of the eponymous state -- over the last two weeks.

On Monday, officials reported the discovery of 17 more corpses bringing the total to 75. Authorities have not yet given information on the identity of the victims or their killers.