Immigration agents detained 71 Central American migrants and four others from Ecuador during operations in Nayarit, Jalisco and Queretaro states, officials said Tuesday.
Twelve minors are among the migrants and will be accompanied by children’s services department officials until they are “handed ove to relatives in their nation of origin,” the National Migration Institute, or INM, said in a statement.
INM agents assigned to the western state of Jalisco found “26 Guatemalans who were traveling in subhuman conditions in containers, packed into boxes with false bottoms, in an effort to cross into the United States” via Nogales, a city in Sonora state, the federal immigration agency said.
The migrants - six minors, six women and 14 men - “paid the (people) traffickers $5,000 each” to be taken into the United States, the INM said.
Agents in the central state of Queretaro discovered 29 migrants “during inspections of passenger buses,” the INM said, adding that the migrants could not show that they were in Mexico legally.
The group included 15 Hondurans, eight Guatemalans and six Salvadorans, the federal immigration agency said.
Four of the Hondurans and two of the Salvadorans are younger than 18, the INM said.
INM agents in the western state of Nayarit, meanwhile, detained 16 Central Americans and four Ecuadorians during an inspection at a bus station in Tepic, the state capital, the federal immigration agency said.
An estimated 300,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.
The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.
Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.