Police rescued 165 Central American and Cuban migrants from kidnappers in the northern border state of Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities said Thursday.
The migrants were being held at two residences in the Gulf port city of Tampico, according to a statement from the Tamaulipas Coordination Group, a multi-agency security task force.
Police discovered the captives thanks to tips from anonymous informants.
The cops arrested three suspects and seized two automatic pistols.
The migrants told authorities that the suspects executed three people in front of them.
Other migrants said they were beaten during their two-week captivity, while some of the women endured sexual assaults.
Separately, seven Honduran migrants were rescued from a hotel in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, just across the border from McAllen, Texas. The owner of the establishment was taken into custody.
The Hondurans had been held captive for more than three weeks.
All of the migrants were turned over to immigration authorities, who contacted their respective home-country governments and notified their families that the former captives were safe, the Tamaulipas Coordination Group said.
A group of 74 migrants was headed toward the U.S. border on Aug. 21, 2010, when armed men intercepted their bus and took them to a ranch outside the town of San Fernando, Tamaulipas.
Migrants headed for the United States are often targeted by Mexican criminal organizations, which kidnap them or try to forcibly recruit them to join their gangs.
In this case, when the migrants refused to join, their abductors decided to kill them.
One of the two survivors notified Mexican marines of the killings.
Marines found the bodies of the 58 men and 14 women after a shootout with gunmen at the ranch that left a marine and three criminals dead.
Mexican authorities blamed the San Fernando massacre on Los Zetas, the country’s most violent drug cartel.