JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Police in Juarez have arrested two Mexican women who allegedly were holding nine Central and South American migrants for ransom.

The women were taken into custody on Thursday in the Independencia neighborhood of central Juarez. A Chihuahua State Police spokesman said the nine citizens of Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua found inside the home told officers they were being kept inside against their will, pending payment of ransom by their relatives.

The migrants didn’t just up and leave because they had been threatened with death, police spokesman Alejandro Rubalcava said. The women identified as Belen H.R. and Lizbeth Esmeralda M.F. could be part of a migrant smuggling ring; police seized a vehicle and two mobile telephones at the house.

The migrants were turned over to the Mexican National Migration Institute.

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