A cargo truck carrying 24 undocumented Central American immigrants trying to reach the United States was intercepted here Tuesday, Mexican authorities said.

Five of the migrants are from El Salvador and the rest are Honduran, the municipal Public Safety Office said in a statement, adding that the group includes five women and children.

The migrants were discovered when police in the Mexico City borough of Iztacalco noticed two people get out of the truck and start running in different directions.

The officers approached the truck and asked driver Abel Manilla Vazquez, 39, to open the cargo compartment, where the cops found the immigrants.

The migrants told police they had paid around $5,000 each to be smuggled into the United States. They said they set out on April 14 bound for the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, bordering Texas.

Police turned the driver over to the prosecutor's office, while the Central Americans were placed in the custody of the INM migration agency, which will arrange their repatriation.

Large numbers of Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States, although the number of border crossers fell from an estimated 433,000 in 2005 to 140,000 in 2010 due to recent U.S. economic woes.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.