Mexican police rescue 73 suspected kidnap victims near US border


Members of the Mexican Federal Police patrol the city of Culiacan, a northwestern city in Mexico's Sinaloa state, on May 28, 2008. Ever since former president Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to combat organized crime in 2006, the country has been ravaged by violence.


Omar Torres

Mexican police freed 73 people thought to have been kidnapped and held for ransom in a house near the US border, authorities said Monday.

State and federal agents rescued the migrants from a home in Reynosa, which lies just across the Mexican border from McAllen, Texas.

The Immigration Institute said 17 of the victims were from Honduras, 13 from Guatemala and three from El Salvador. The other 40 were reportedly from Mexico.

The victims included women and minors, some of whom reported having been sexually abused.

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Police said they believed the victims were taken from buses or bus stations, and held for up to four months, while the suspects demanded ransom from their families.

Police also found weapons and drugs at the home, including nearly 700 rounds of bullets, a hand grenade and almost 10,000 kilograms (22,046 lbs) of what was believed to be marijuana.

Mexico's Tamaulipas state, where Reynosa is located, is controlled by the powerful Zetas and Gulf drug cartels and abductions of migrants are common. 

In 2010, 72 migrants, including dozens of Central Americans, were found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in an incident linked to Mexico's brutal Zetas cartel.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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