Officers from the Army, National Guard and National Migration Institute (INM) found 215 undocumented migrants in the back of an abandoned trailer in Veracruz on Tuesday.
The migrants were first detected as the truck passed through a Non-Intrusive Inspection System checkpoint in Cosamaloapan, on Highway 145D, in the south of the Gulf state of Veracruz. The driver of the vehicle was signaled to stop, but instead sped up to escape the authorities.
According to a statement by the INM, “the unit was tracked and later found abandoned with the engine running and with safety padlocks on the doors of the blind box.” The driver had already fled the scene.
Inside the trailer, INM agents rescued 215 undocumented migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, including 148 single adults, 26 unaccompanied minors, and 17 families made up of 41 men, women and children.
The single adult migrants were taken to the Acayucan Migrant Detention Center, while the families and unaccompanied minors were put into the custody of the local Social Services (DIF). All were given food, water and medical attention, the INM said.
The trailer was handed over to the regional delegation of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR).
The incident is similar to another that occurred in September, when 350 migrants– mainly Guatemalan – were found in the back of a trailer truck on the highway between Coatzacoalcos and Córdoba, in Veracruz. The migrants were also detected using a non-intrusive gamma ray device, and were crammed together and dehydrated when found.
Undocumented migrants frequently resort to clandestine transport in trailer trucks, often with deadly consequences. In June, 50 migrants died after being trapped in an abandoned trailer in San Antonio Texas, and several incidents have occurred in Chiapas where migrants have been injured or killed when overloaded trucks overturned on winding roads.