As many as 40 bodies have now been found at the home of a former El Salvador cop, who was arrested this month for murdering two women.

Salvadoran officials said Thursday that most of the victims were believed to be women, and it could take another month to exhume all the bodies, Reuters reported.

So far, authorities noted that the remains of 24 people had been recovered at the house of former El Salvador cop, Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chavez, in Chalchuapa, about 78 kilometers northwest of San Salvador.

According to an Associated Press report, the case revealed the existence of a murder ring that may have operated for a decade.

Speculations were circulating in local media that the said murder ring could have killed as many as 20 people.

The former El Salvador cop was detained and charged for killing a 57-year-old woman and her 26-year-old daughter. 

Osorio Chavez had been previously investigated for sex crimes. The suspect had admitted to killing the two, and his arrest prompted a search of his home, ABC News Go reported.

READ NEXT: Returned Migrants Are Targets for Abuse, Violence in Mexico After Being Denied Entry to U.S.

More Bodies Found at Former El Salvador Cop's Home

Prosecutors said they had initially found 14 bodies at Osorio Chavez's home with eight pits holding the bodies. Some may have been buried as long as two years ago.

The total of bodies recovered at home increased over the past week. The prosecutor's office noted that the victims might include girls aged 9, 7, and 2, Washington Post reported.

Justice Minister Gustavo Villatoro said the pits' depth suggests that more than one person was involved in burying them.

The prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 10 other suspects, who might have been accomplices in 14 killings, including the murders of nine women.

Villatoro noted that the skeletal remains found will be subjected to DNA testing to determine their identities. 

According to El Salvador's director of police Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, Osorio Chavez was fired from the police force in 2005.

Arriaza Chicas added that the suspect might have been killing people for a decade.

Arriaza Chicas said that the suspect had told them that he found his victims on social media and lured them with "the American dream."

Arriaza Chicas added that the former El Salvador cop had been detained, and they believe that 99 percent of the people who assisted him have been detained.

El Salvador Crime Rates

El Salvador has one of the world's highest-rate of homicides due to gangs exercising territorial control over particular areas.

Gang activities include forcibly recruiting children while subjecting women, girls, and individuals to sexual abuse, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported.

Meanwhile, security forces remain largely ineffective in protecting the population from violence.

Law enforcement authorities have reportedly implicated serious human rights violations, such as extrajudicial executions, sexual assaults, and other acts of torture.

Around 60,000 gang members operate in at least 247 of the country's 262 municipalities, according to media sources of HRW.

From 2012 to 2014, a truce between the national government, 11 local governments, and two of the country's largest gangs was declared. But reports said it does not help the law enforcement officials and political leaders in criminal operations.

A huge number of Salvadorans were also internally displaced by criminal violence, extortion, and other threats. Around 300,000 people were reportedly displaced in 2017.

Fiscalía General de la República El Salvador registered 3,664 victims of disappearance, abductions, and unexplained mission person cases in 2018.

Dozens of people believed their missing relatives could be among the bodies exhumed at the former El Salvador cop's home.

READ NEXT: U.S.-Mexico Efforts Against Mexican Drug Cartels Have Unraveled: DEA

WATCH: El Salvador's Gangs - From BBC News