Mexico: 73 Migrants Rescued in Bust

Mexican Federal Police rescued 73 abducted migrant workers being held in a house in the northeastern border city of Reynosa, Tamaulips on Monday, according to InSight Crime.

Authorities discovered the house after two suspects attempted to flee to it during a police chase. Cries for help were heard from inside, reported the Mexican newspaper El Informador. The two men, Santiago Betancourt Mora, 43, and Daniel Martínez González, 25, were arrested alongside Cristian Josué Galván Hernández, 18 who was found in the building.

Reuters lists the kidnap victims, 56 male and 17 female, as 37 Mexicans, 19 Hondurans, 14 Guatemalans, and three El Salvadorans. Among the abductees were minors, some of whom were the victims of sexual abuse.

Authorities found weapons, including a hand grenade and hundreds of bullets, and more than ten tons of what was believed to be marijuana.

InSight Crime reports that the exploitation of migrants for forced labor or extortion is a common practice by Mexican criminal organizations. Hundreds of bodies believed to be migrants have been found in Mexico since 2010, including a mass grave containing more than 200 bodies in the state of Tamaulipas. The killings were linked to the brutal and growing Mexican cartel the Zetas.

Migrants, often attempting to travel to the United States, are extremely vulnerable to organized crime. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission reported that an estimated 22,000 migrants are kidnapped in Mexico each year.