MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Federal Police has recovered nearly 10,000 U.S. visas that were stolen nearly a month ago in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the National Security Commission said.
The officers and personnel from the Tamaulipas state Attorney General’s Office found 23 U.S. Embassy diplomatic bags that contained 9,382 machine-readable Border Crossing Cards, known as “laser visas,” that had been issued to Mexican citizens, the commission said in a statement Friday.
The vast majority of the visas were recovered from an abandoned SUV with Texas license plates that was found in the parking lot of a shopping mall in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, located across from Brownsville, Texas.
On June 7, a cargo truck carrying the BCCs to U.S. consulates in Monterrey and Guadalajara was hijacked in Tamaulipas, and the truck’s cargo was stolen.
The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs issued an alert to prevent the stolen visas from being used at any U.S. port of entry.
A total of 3,218 BCCs remain unaccounted for, Mexican media outlets reported Friday, citing the Tamaulipas state AG’s office.
New visas have already been reissued to those affected by the robbery.
Some Mexican drug cartels use stolen visas to smuggle undocumented Central American migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, human rights activists say.