Mexican Military Frees 60 Migrants Held Prisoner By Gangs Near Border

By David Iaconangelo | Apr 21 2014, 12:39PM EDT

Migrants rest inside an auditorium which is being used as a migrant's shelter in Chahuites, Istmo de Tehuantepec January 8, 2011, before continuing their journey to the United States Reuters/Jorge Luis Plata

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La Jornada reported on Sunday that 60 migrants bound for the United States were freed from a warehouse in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, close to the Texas border, after members of Mexico’s military carried out an operation in the town of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz.

The migrants, whose countries of origin have not been specified, were being held prisoner by a gang, according to state authorities.

A host of weapons were seized in the operation, including three high-caliber weapons, a grenade-launcher, seven grenades, and 14 vehicles.

El Universal reports that the military began its operation based on an anonymous tip from a neighbor. Three people were arrested in connection with the operation, including one suspect whom authorities allege to be a gang member. Tamaulipas is the home base of the Zetas drug cartel, who are known to prey upon migrants passing through Mexico on their way to the US; members of the Zetas were linked to a 2010 massacre of 72 Central American migrants in the municipality of San Fernando.

The news comes a few days after the US Border Patrolsaid it had arrested 132 migrants living in two buildings in rural south Texas, as well as another 80 migrants -- most of whom are from Central America -- who had been living in a series of makeshift shelters near the city of McAllen. The AP noted in its report that guides who lead immigrants across the US-Mexico border illegally often leave them in “stash houses” once they make it into the United States, where the immigrants wait for transportation to be arranged to their destination.