Around 40 drivers were assaulted and robbed on the Arco Norte highway near Mexico City on Wednesday morning after thieves brought traffic to a standstill by placing rocks on the road.
At least 15 people with high-caliber weapons passed from one stationary vehicle to the next, taking the belongings from those inside.
An earlier collision had slowed traffic, enabling the criminals to block the road. The mass robbery took place at kilometer 215 of the highway between Texmelucan, Puebla, and Sanctórum, Tlaxcala, close to the Puebla state border.
Some drivers saw the assailants coming, but were trapped in the traffic and had to accept their fate. The thieves smashed the windows of other drivers who locked their vehicles or raised their windows.
Vehicles transporting goods were ransacked and the loot was loaded onto pickup trucks.
After the robbery, drivers arrived at a nearby toll plaza with no money to pay and reported the incident. National Guard officers arrived at the scene, but the criminals fled on foot and none was caught.
Puebla Governor Luis Miguel Barbosa said he would look to set up a commission with federal authorities and the government of neighboring Tlaxcala to avoid theft on the highway.
Robberies on the Arco Norte have occurred before. On March 15, at kilometer 205, in a strikingly similar incident, around 15 armed and hooded men robbed motorists after traffic was halted by a crash.