In this June 19, 2014 photo, a Central American migrants emerge from side streets to crowd onto the tracks, as a northbound freight train arrives in the station in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been apprehended crossing the U.S. Mexico border since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and most say they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
MEXICO CITY (AP) – Authorities said Friday they had rescued eight Salvadoran migrant youths who had been kidnapped by an equally youthful gang in northern Mexico.
Prosecutors also said a previously reported operation had rescued a total of 205 kidnapped migrants being held in brutal conditions in two homes in the city of Tampico during which they were forced to watch executions. On Thursday, officials had put the number at 158.
Mexican drug gangs often kidnap Central American migrants to extort money from their relatives in the United States. The migrants are often beaten and tortured to force them to reveal relatives' phone numbers.
Now, increasing numbers of minors appear to have become victims of kidnappings in recent months amid an upsurge in young migrants from Central America seeking to get into the United States.
Mexico's top anti-kidnapping prosecutor, Renato Sales, said police rescued 19 kidnapped Salvadoran immigrants at a house in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. All were lying on the floor with their hands and feet bound, including eight under-age migrants.
Police detained six alleged kidnappers at the house in the city of Altamira during the raid July 3. Three of the suspects were under 18, two were 18, and another was 22.
Sales did not give the exact ages of the minor victims or suspects, but said youths were increasingly being detected in kidnapping gangs.
The update on the big rescue involved migrants who told police they had been held captive for more than two weeks in the Tamaulipas port city of Tampico. The migrants told investigators their kidnappers had beaten them, raped the women and killed a couple and a boy in front of them.
On Friday, Sales said the number of migrants heading to the United States turned out to be 205 rather than the previously reported 158. Of those, 156 were from Honduras, 35 from El Salvador, five from Cuba, seven from Guatemala and two from Mexico.
In another raid Wednesday, police rescued two minors and five adult migrants from Honduras who had been kidnapped in the border city of Reynosa, a city in Tamaulipas across from McAllen, Texas. The victims had spent more than 20 days in captivity.