Soldiers in northeastern Mexico have found 652 Central American migrants in three sealed reefer containers. A group of this size is rarely encountered. The Mexican Immigration Agency reported this on Friday.
The migrants, mainly from neighboring Guatemala, had too little air and no food or water in the containers. They were handed over to the authorities of the state of Tamaulipas. The migrants, including 349 minors, are said to be victims of people smugglers. 198 of the minors were not accompanied by an adult.
The trucks carrying the containers were reportedly stopped at a military checkpoint in the village of Hidalgo, 300 kilometers from the US border. Four people were arrested. At least nine migrants appear to have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The number of migrants detained in the United States after illegally crossing the border into Mexico has risen sharply this year. In July and August, more than 200,000 people were affected, many of them unaccompanied minors.
Most of the migrants attempting to cross the border come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, where poverty, violence, and corruption are rife. The countries were also hit by natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and hurricanes.
People from other countries in the region such as Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela are also trying to travel to the US via Mexico. They are often already stopped in Mexico and sent back.