165 kidnapped migrants freed in Mexico

MGN Online
Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 10:00pm

 Mexican authorities say they've rescued 165 migrants who were apparently kidnapped as they tried to cross into the United States.

The victims were held for weeks in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, Mexico's Interior Ministry said Thursday.

A majority of the migrants 150 are from Central America. Another 14 are Mexican nationals, and one is from India, the ministry said.

They were held for as many as three weeks, officials said.

"The victims said that they had the intention of entering the United States of America, but they were held against their will while a suspected criminal group contacted their families by phone and demanded different sums of money that were sent to their kidnappers," Interior Ministry spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.

An anonymous tip led Mexican soldiers to the scene, Sanchez said.

Soldiers detained a 20 year-old suspect and handed him over to prosecutors.

Drug cartels that operate in the area are known to have kidnapped migrants in the past and requested ransoms for their release.

Sanchez did not identify any criminal group that could be involved and declined to respond to questions.

Amnesty International has said that immigrants in Mexico "face a variety of serious abuses from organized criminal gangs, including kidnappings, threats and assaults."

During a six-month period in 2010, Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights said, at least 11,333 migrants were kidnapped.

That year, authorities also found the bodies of 72 slain immigrants from Central and South America on an abandoned ranch near the Mexico-U.S. border.

The Central American migrants freed Thursday included 77 Salvadorans, 50 Guatemalans and 23 Hondurans.

Twenty of them were minors, and two were pregnant.

More than 26,000 people have gone missing in Mexico over the past six years as violence surged and the country's government cracked down on drug cartels, according to Mexico's Interior Ministry. Authorities don't have data on how many of the disappearances were connected with organized crime.


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