Kidnapped while trying to reach the U.S., 73 migrants have been rescued from a house where they were being held near the Texas border, Mexican officials said Tuesday.
The victims had been kidnapped from buses or bus terminals, and some had been held captive for as long as four months, according to a CNN report
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Mexican authorities say the victims were found when federal police on patrol Monday in the northern city of Reynosa – across the border from McAllen, Texas – followed a car driven by someone trying to avoid being pulled over. When the car carrying two men pulled up to a house, authorities moved in.
When police moved in, “they could hear cries for help,” Mexico’s National Security Commission said in a statement, according to CNN. Thirty-seven of the captives were from Mexico, 19 were from Honduras, 14 from Guatemala, and three were from El Salvador, the Commission said.
Victims told police of being beaten, raped, and forced to call family for ransom payments.
Authorities arrested the two people whom they followed to the house, along with a third person who is alleged to have worked as a lookout. The blog BeforeItsNews.com said police also seized 687 rounds of ammunition
, a fragmentary hand grenade, six weapons magazines, and more than 22 pounds of marijuana.
Kidnapping and holding immigrants for ransom in Mexico has become big business. In June, Mexican soldiers rescued 165 immigrants who were being held at gunpoint in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. The Los Angeles Times reported at the time that Mexican officials estimate some 10,000 migrants
have gone missing each year since 2008. Some are held for ransom, but others are sent into forced labor for drug traffickers or killed.
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