More than 120 migrants, including some minors, were found screaming for help in the back of an abandoned tractor-trailer in Mexico this week, according to a report.
The migrants were discovered Wednesday after a citizen alerted authorities to a badly parked truck on the side of the Matehuala-Saltillo highway in the border state of Nuevo León, the EFE news agency reported.
“National Guards went to the place and had contact with the vehicle, dry box type, parked on the shoulder of the road,” Mexico’s National Guard said in a statement.
“Upon approaching, they realized that the operator was not there and they heard screams coming from inside the vehicle.”
Officials found 121 migrants — hailing from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba — stashed in the back of the overcrowded truck.
They were given medical attention and water before being transferred to a migration station to determine their legal status.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the truck driver had been identified.
The truck discovery comes one month after the US Border Patrol said Mexican authorities had intercepted another truck bound for the border with 150 immigrants crammed inside.
“This has proven to be a deadly tactic that smugglers use,” Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens tweeted on Aug. 17, alongside a photo of the migrants. “Luckily, no one in this large group needed medical assistance.”
The interception of those two tractor-trailers comes just months after the deadliest smuggling attempt in US history, in which 53 migrants were found dead in the back of a stifling big rig in San Antonio, Texas, in June.
Homero Zamorano, the driver charged in that fatal smuggling attempt, had allegedly transported migrants in dangerous trucks at least three times before.
Nearly 750 migrants have died attempting to cross into the US this fiscal year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have blamed the Biden administration’s policies for the surge in border-crossers since the president took office in January 2021.
Migrant arrest numbers have almost doubled under the Biden administration and have already exceeded last year’s record, according to the latest Customs and Border Protection data.
So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol agents have reported more than 1.94 million encounters at the border, which is up from 1.73 million encounters recorded in all of 2021 and just over 458,000 in 2020.
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