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Heroes: Mexican armed forces rescue 49 migrants kidnapped from bus by gangs

The bus company reported the kidnapping, claiming that they had received demands to pay $1,500 to release each migrant

Members of the Mexican Armed Forced in the Sept. 16 military parade in honour of the anniversary of Mexican Independence
Miembros de la Fuerza Armada Mexicana en el desfile militar del 16 de septiembre en honor a la Independencia de México | Shutterstock

May 19, 2023 12:01am

Updated: May 19, 2023 9:22am

The Mexican army said on Thursday it had found 49 migrants who were kidnapped from a bus earlier this week by organized crime members. 

The migrants suddenly disappeared on Tuesday while they were on their way to the U.S. border from the southern state of Chiapas. Nine of the migrants were found on Tuesday near a highway in Nuevo Leon after they managed to flee when they were attacked. 

Forty migrants were found between Wednesday and Thursday in several locations in the central state of San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Leon.

The bus company reported the kidnapping, claiming that they had received demands to pay $1,500 to release each migrant. 

At least 650 police officers and army soldiers participated in the search for the migrants, said Defense Secretary Gen. Luis Cresencio Sandoval. 

According to the migrants that were rescued, a drug cartel abducted them when their bus stopped at a gas station. No suspects have been arrested yet, Sandoval added. 

While police did not identify the cartels that could be involved in the kidnapping, the Gulf Cartel and other gangs operate in the area where the migrants were found. 

Authorities also said that it is possible that more migrants could be found in the coming days since it was unknown how many were on the bus at the time of the kidnapping. 

The two bus drivers also have not been found. Sandoval said that finding the drivers was a top priority for authorities because many times the drivers are killed by the abductors or are part of the kidnapping operation. 

The migrants included 19 Hondurans, 14 Haitians, seven Venezuelans, six Salvadorans, two Brazilians, and one Cuban.  

This is the second kidnapping of migrants that has been reported in the same area. In April, 20 migrants were kidnapped from a van. Authorities found the 20 migrants, as well as an additional 80 individuals, who were being held against their will.