Mexican immigration agents find 359 U.S.-bound migrants in a truck
17th January 2022

Mexican immigration agents find truck crammed with 359 Central American migrants lying on top of each other, all bound for the US

  • A group of 359 migrants were found hidden inside a truck in Veracruz, Mexico
  • Immigration agents made the discovery Sunday morning during a traffic stop on a highway connecting Coatzacoalcos and the city of Veracruz
  • The smuggled group consisted of 294 Guatemalans, 38 Nicaraguans, 15 Salvadorans, eight Honduran and four Ecuadoreans
  • The driver of the vehicle, whose name was not released, was arrested and turned over to the local Office of the  Attorney General in Veracruz

At least 359 United States-bound migrants, mostly from Central America, were found crammed inside a tractor trailer on a highway in the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz.

The shocking discovery was made Sunday around 3:30a.m. local time when Federal Immigration Agents pulled over the driver on road connecting the towns of connecting Coatzacoalcos and Veracruz before they proceeded to inspect the freight container, the National Institute of Migration said in a statement.

The agents heard voices coming from the trailer box and pried its doors open, finding the migrants sitting alongside both sides of the cargo box while other individuals were spread across the floor sleeping beside each other.

Mexican immigration agents found 359 migrants from Central American and South American being smuggled in a tractor trailer Sunday morning in the southeastern state of Veracruz. The agents were manning a checkpoint on a highway connecting the municipalities of Coatzacoalcos and Veracruz before they proceeded to inspect the freight container. The driver was placed under arrest while the migrants were taken in for processing

A group of 359 migrants bound for the United States were found hiding in a freight container that was being hauled down a highway in Veracruz, Mexico, on Sunday around 3:30 a.m. local time

National Institute of Migration said there were 294 migrants from Guatemala in the truck. The rest of the group consisted of 38 Nicaraguans, 15 Salvadorans and eight Hondurans. There were also four residents of Ecuador

According to the National Institute of Migration, 294 of the migrants were natives of Guatemala. The rest of the group consisted of 38 Nicaraguans, 15 Salvadorans and eight Hondurans. There were also four residents of Ecuador.

The driver, whose name was withheld from the press, in under arrest and being held by the local Office of the Attorney General. 

The migrants – who did not require emergency medical attention – remained in custody of the National Institute of Migration for processing. It’s unknown if they would be deported to their home countries or offered humanitarian visas to remain in Mexico, as has been the case with many migrants who have been removed from buses and trucks, and voluntarily dropped out of caravans.

‘The (National Institute of Migration) endorses its commitment to safe, orderly and regular migration, with full respect and safeguarding the rights of people in the context of mobility, regardless of their nationality, social, economic or political status,’ the immigration agency said in a statement.

Migrants often pay smugglers to take them in buses or trucks through Mexico to the US border. Such trips are often very dangerous, as smugglers often pack many people into cargo compartments. 

Immigration agents instruct migrants not to move from the roof of a freight container after the truck that was hauling it was pulled over on a highway in Veracruz, Mexico, on Sunday.

Immigration agents pry open the door of a tractor trailer what was stopped with 359 migrants in Veracruz, Mexico, on Sunday

The truck that was pulled over Sunday was similar in size to a tractor trailer that was involved in a deadly crash in the nearby southern state of Chiapas on December 9. The accident left 56 migrants dead and injured 104 others.

A group of more than 170 Central Americans survived a scare last Tuesday when a smaller truck they were being smuggled in crashed against a highway media divider, also in Veracruz. Authorities rescued 38 migrants while the rest fled the scene of the accident.

Recent Mexican government data shows more than 252,000 undocumented migrants were intercepted in the country between January 2021 and November 2021. At least 100,000 were deported during the same period. 

The Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees received 31,488 refugee petitions in all of 2021.

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