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Mexican Authorities Free 165 Immigrants Near Border

Mexican authorities announced today that their military freed 165 immigrants being held captive just across the border from McAllen, Tex.

Government spokesman Eduardo Sánchez Hernández said the military followed a tip into a house in the municipality of Diaz Ordaz on Tuesday. There they found people who said they were on their way to the United States, when they were kidnapped.

Among them, said Hernández, were seven boys and girls and two pregnant women. The captives were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and India. Hernández said that after the migrants were taken, their families were contacted by the kidnappers, who asked them for ransom.

The Washington Post reports:

"While it is not unusual for Mexican police and soldiers to announce similar raids on safe houses run by smugglers and trafficking organizations, the number of migrants found during Tuesday's bust is among the largest in memory.

"It is also not uncommon for migrants who have hired smuggling guides to tell authorities that they were kidnapped, rather than admit to paying for the illegal trip to the United States."

The AP reports that the Zetas cartel is "behind most abduction of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2010, the cartel was blamed for killing 72 migrants in northern Mexico."

Police arrested one armed man during the raid.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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