EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican authorities say they have rescued 378 migrants in the past week abandoned by smugglers inside locked trailer boxes.
The first two incidents days apart occurred on a highway near Cardel, Veracruz. It involved 206 citizens of Guatemala and Honduras who were inside a semi-trailer left parked on the side of a highway, the Ministry of the Interior reported.
The migrants were “in overcrowded conditions, dehydrated and medicated” so they would not urinate during the trip, the ministry said in a statement. The trailer was fitted with special side panels so as to prevent X-ray machines from detecting the migrants, who were wearing identification bracelets, authorities reported.
Twenty children from Guatemala were inside the trailer. They were handed over to DIF, Mexico’s child and family protection agency.
Five days later, late Friday, Mexican authorities came across a second abandoned semi in which migrants already having difficulty breathing had torn a portion of the trailer’s roof, the National Migration Institute (INM) reported.
Veracruz state police, the Mexican National Guard, and INM agents arrived on the Jaltipan-Cosoleacaque Highway scene to open the trailer. A total of 172 citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and Bangladesh were inside, INM reported. Of those, 44 were part of family units, and 27 were unaccompanied minors.
The children were handed over to DIF, and the adults were placed in the custody of the INM after receiving a medical checkup, authorities said.
Jaltipan is a town in southeastern Veracruz where a highway leads out of the state of Tabasco, which borders Guatemala.
Earlier this month, INM reported finding another 303 migrants hidden in the back of commercial trucks passing through the state of Veracruz on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. Six alleged smugglers were arrested in connection with those incidents involving migrants from Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, and Nicaragua.