August 28, 2010

72 Migrants found dead at Mexcio/US border

MEXICO CITY -- (08/26/10) -- Mexican government officials say 72 migrants found dead at a ranch near the U.S. border may have been killed by the Zetas drug cartel.

Navy Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara says a wounded survivor reports that gunmen who identified themselves as Zetas kidnapped him and other migrants and took them to the ranch in San Fernando, a town south of Brownsville, Texas.

Vergara said Wednesday that investigators believe the migrants were from Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras.

A wounded Ecuadorean who escaped the killing ground in Mexico's Tamaulipas state told authorities that the migrants' abductors identified themselves as Zetas, a drug gang whose control of parts of the state is so brutal and complete that even many Mexicans avoid traveling its highways.

Migrants running the gauntlet up Mexico to reach the United States have long faced extortion, violence and theft. But reports have grown of mass kidnappings of migrants, who are forced to give the telephone numbers of relatives in the United States or back home who are then required to transfer ransom payments to the abductors.

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