Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.
Mexico, News Briefs

Mexico Discovers 210 Migrants Hidden In A Truck In Chiapas

June 13, 2011 By Andrew OReilly

Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.

Police in Mexico discovered 210 migrants Sunday, hidden inside a truck near the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

Officials discovered the people after stopping the truck at a highway checkpoint. The migrants, who were mostly from Central and South America, appeared to be dehydrated and hungry.

“It was very hot and we had no water,” said Loa, a 23-year old Salvadoran, to The Associated Press.

A Mexican immigration official speaking anonymously said the migrants had not eaten in 24 hours and were now being given food and water at a federal police station in the southern state of Chiapas, where they are being held as they await deportation.

The migrants were mostly making their way from Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, but also from India.

Mexican authorities detained the truck’s driver and his assistant and will transfer them to a maximum security prison.

Sunday’s discovery comes on the heels of a similar incident in May when Mexican officials found 513 migrants inside a two tractor trailers in Chiapas. Using X-ray equipment, Chiapas state authorities discovered the migrants who hailed from Central and South America as well as India, Nepal, China and Japan.

Another trailer filled with 219 people was discovered in January.

According to official figures some 300,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from Central America, cross Mexico’s 620 mile border with Guatemala and Belize every year. At least 11,300 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico from April to September 2010, according to the most recent report from the country’s independent National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, in Spanish).

The United Nations estimates that smuggling migrants into the United States is a $6.6 billion business annually. That excludes another $1 billion paid by thousands of non-Mexicans to cross from Guatemala into Mexico and then travel north to the U.S. border, according to a 2010 U.N. report of transnational crime.

Photo: detritus @ Flickr.