219 migrants rescued from truck in Mexico


San Cristobal de las Casas (Mexico) : As many as 219 undocumented immigrants were found inside a trailer in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas when the vehicle passed through a checkpoint equipped with an X-ray machine, the state government said.

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During the inspection, the 219 immigrants inside the trailer called for help, were rescued and taken to the facilities of the state Attorney General’s Office, “where they received medical and psychological attention, food and legal advice”, said the Chiapas government in a communique Thursday.

All but 10 of the migrants are from Central America, and the group includes 33 women and nine minors.

The find was made at 4 a.m. Wednesday when the truck passed through the control point and authorities noticed that there were people in the cargo compartment.

The driver ignored the order to stop, but he was chased down by police.

The driver and his assistant were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and the truck was found to have been reported stolen.

Some of the migrants told officials they “had been threatened so that they would not reveal that they travelled in the trailer in exchange for paying at least 58,000 (Guatemalan) quetzales ($7,355)” each, the state government said.

The driver and his assistant offered bribes to the police to be allowed to continue on their way, but “they were apprehended and placed at the disposition of the authorities”, the statement said.

Mexican authorities estimate that some 300,000 undocumented immigrants, most of them Central Americans, enter this country’s territory each year trying to make their way to the US.