Nineteen men were kidnapped at gunpoint from a bus traveling from Tampico to Reynosa in Tamaulipas last Thursday, police said yesterday.
The victims are believed to have been Central American migrants traveling north to the United States.
Local authorities told reporters that 41 passengers were on board the Transpais bus when it was forced to stop by four vehicles blocking the road near the town of San Fernando, about 100 kilometers from Reynosa. That particular stretch of highway is considered one of the most dangerous in the state.
Four armed and masked men boarded the bus and forced 19 male passengers to get off and board the kidnappers’ waiting vehicles. After the kidnappers left with their captives, the driver continued on to Reynosa with his remaining passengers and reported the incident.
A similar incident took place on the same highway in 2010 when members of the Zetas cartel kidnapped 72 migrants — mostly young men and women from Central America — and murdered them all in what is now known as the San Fernando massacre.
The border state is one of the regions with the highest number of disappearances. Much of the state’s territory is disputed in an active conflict between Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, both of which have been weakened and fragmented by the capture of leaders from both sides.
Authorities say that criminal groups often kidnap men traveling on highways in Tamaulipas to force them to join their ranks. Migrants traveling to the United States have been especially vulnerable to such attacks.