Mexican authorities arrest 54 illegal migrants

Mexican authorities arrest 54 illegal migrants

Mexican authorities arrest 54 illegal migrants

Authorities in Mexico detained 54 people from Central America, Cuba and Sri Lanka who were travelling in cramped conditions in the back of a cargo truck, announced the Mexican National Migration Institute (INM).

The illegal migrants were discovered during a routine control inspection in the city of Piedras Negras in the state of Coahuila. Of the detainees, 44 were from Central American countries, with seven of them being minors travelling alone.

People smugglers were transporting the migrants from the south of the country to the north and were planning to attempt to cross into the US, according to the INM. The institute said they were travelling in inhumane conditions and had not had access to food or water in more than a day.

The driver and two assistants, all Mexican, were arrested and now face people trafficking charges.

The migrants told immigration officials that they had paid as much as US$2,000 per person to be transported to the US-Mexico border. They were taken to Coahuila state’s INM facility, where they received consular assistance and medical care, while the minors were taken in by child welfare officials.

Around 300,000 Central Americans try to cross Mexico on route to the US each year, although the passage is dangerous, with criminal groups and corrupt officials seeking to take advantage of them wherever possible. According to Mexican officials, gangs rob, kidnap and even murder the migrants, with extortion seen as a major problem in a country that is suffering from mounting violence.

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