Six Nepalis among 513 migrants being ferried in inhuman conditions to US held in Mexico
Six Nepalis were among 513 migrants who were found inside two trailer trucks bound for the United States by police in Mexico's southern Chiapas state on Tuesday.
The unidentified Nepalis were being transported with other illegal migrants "in dangerously crowded conditions", according to an Associated Press report.
"Some of the immigrants were suffering from dehydration after traveling for hours clinging to cargo ropes strung inside the containers to keep them upright as the trucks bounced along from the Guatemalan border, and allow more migrants to be more crammed in on the floor," the AP report said.
The trucks had air holes punched in the tops of the containers, but migrants interviewed at the state prosecutors' office told AP they lacked air and water. The trucks were bound for the central city of Puebla, where the migrants said they had been told they would be loaded aboard a second set of vehicles for the trip to the U.S. border.
"We were suffering, it was very hot and we were clinging to the ropes," Mario, a 23-year-old Honduran migrant who identified himself only by his first name, for security reasons told AP. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission says thousands of undocumented migrants are kidnapped and held for ransom by drug gangs in Mexico each year.
None of the migrants would say whether any drug gang had been involved in the mass smuggling scheme broken up early Tuesday when Chiapas state police discovered the migrants while using X-ray equipment on the trucks at a checkpoint in the outskirts of city of Tuxtla Gutierrez.
The migrants told AP the smugglers were charging them about $7,000 apiece to get them into the United States. A Guatemalan migrant who identified himself as Juan said remaining in his hometown in Guatemala was not an option, noting "a lot of us are Indians, and we can't stay in our homes. There is no work, and there's nothing to eat."
An agent for the National Immigration Institute who was not authorized to be quoted by name said it was the largest shipment of migrants detained in Mexico in recent years.
Police also arrested four people accused of smuggling the migrants, who are from Central and South America and Asia, Chiapas state prosecutors said in a statement.
The alleged smugglers tried to escape police but were chased down and captured, prosecutors said.
The immigration institute said in a statement that 410 of the migrants were from Guatemala, 47 from El Salvador, 32 from Ecuador, 12 from India, six from Nepal, three from China and one each from Japan, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. There were 32 women and four children among them.
In January, Chiapas state authorities discovered 219 migrants squeezed into a trailer truck.
Most of those migrants were from Central America but six were from Sri Lanka and four from Nepal. nepalnews.com