Posted on May 18, 2011

Mexico Detains 513 People Crammed Into Two US-Bound Trucks

AFP, May 17, 2011

Police on Tuesday detained 513 undocumented migrants from Latin America and Asia who were crammed into two trucks bound for the United States, prosecutors in southeast Mexico said.

The migrants, from Latin America, Japan, China, India and Nepal, “were traveling in inhuman conditions” in the southeastern state of Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border, the local attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Police stopped the trucks, carrying 240 and 273 people, on the outskirts of state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez early Tuesday, after they accelerated through a vehicle scanner at a police checkpoint, the statement said.

Officers chased down the vehicles shortly afterward, it added.

Police detained the Mexican drivers of the two trucks, and the migrants were provided with aid and food, the statement said.

Mexican lawmakers last month unanimously approved a law to “strengthen the protection and security” of migrants amid widespread abuse.

Rights groups have long criticized Mexico for failing to protect tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from Central America, trying to cross the vast country to illegally enter the US each year.

The gruesome discovery of 72 murdered migrants from Central and South America in northeastern Tamaulipas state last August increased pressure on the government to act.