The 72 young migrants met their deaths together only 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the US Border. In Mexico’s worst drug cartel massacre, the painful task of identifying the bodies, found tied up, blindfolded and lying in a row is underway.
The lone survivor, 18-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla of Ecuador is recovering under heavy guard at the hospital from a gunshot wound in his neck. He told authorities that the group was walking along a road in the northern state of Tamaulopas in the homestretch up Mexico’s east coast to reach Texas. More than 10 gunmen jumped out of 5 cars and identified themselves as Zetas. They tied up the migrants and took them to the ranch where they demanded the migrant’s work for the gang. When most of them refused, they were blindfolded, ordered to lie down and shot.
Investigators have only been able to identify 31 of the immigrants, those who had documents on them, the balance are having DNA collected but many will be impossible to identify.
They have identified: 14 Hondurans, 12 Salvadorans, four Guatemalans and one Brazilian.
Freddy Lala paid $15,000 to the smuggler who promised to guide him from Ecuador to his parents in the US.
Among those dead were there Guatemalan relatives, a 17 year old boy and his two brother-in-laws in their 20’s. The young men come from a small farming village Agua Caliente, and wanted to come to the US to make enough money to come back to Guatemala and replace their Adobe home with a more modern structure, the kind others with family in the US had. All three families received a call on August 16th demanding a 1000 ransom each. None could afford to pay.
Mexican Immigration Agents have rescued 2,750 migrants this year. In Tamaulipas alone, they have rescued 812 migrants kidnapped by drug gangs who tried to force them into drug trafficking.