SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – Police found six Somali migrants who were abandoned in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas by the people traffickers they hired to smuggle them into the United States, officials said.
The men had been lost for eight days, the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
The Africans were found near the border with Guatemala and were dehydrated, the AG’s office said.
The migrants were provided with medical assistance, food and legal assistance.
Police spotted the men on the Palenque-Benemerito de las Americas highway near the Ejido Busilja crossing on Chiapas’s border with Guatemala.
“After being rescued, the migrants said they were abandoned upon entering Mexican territory by the traffickers who claimed to be taking them to the United States,” the AG’s office said.
Officials said Sunday that military personnel and National Migration Institute, or INM, agents detained 1,438 undocumented foreigners, the majority of them Guatemalans, during a nearly month-long operation in southern Mexico.
“Operation Soconusco II,” which took place from Jan. 17 to Feb. 14 in Chiapas, also led to the arrests of 74 other people, of whom 70 are Mexicans, on drug, people trafficking and other charges, the Defense Secretariat, the Navy Secretariat and the INM said in a joint statement.
Authorities detained 955 Guatemalans, 241 Hondurans, 218 Salvadorans, 14 Cubans, six Nicaraguans, an American, a Panamanian, a Dominican and an Ecuadorian.
Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.