Authorities responding to an anonymous call rescued 129 United States-bound migrants, mostly Haitians, who were trapped inside a tractor trailer on the side of a highway in southern Guatemala Saturday.
Guatemala’s National Civil Police said that agents found the abandoned truck and cargo container on the 70-mile marker of a road that connects the municipalities of Cocales and Nueva Concepción in Escuintla.
Officers at the scene heard the frightened migrants banging on the freight container’s walls and screaming for help before they were able to break the door’s lock open and escort them out.
The group consisted 109 Haitians, 11 Nepalese, and nine Ghanaians.
The alleged smugglers had not been arrested as of Monday.
Guatemala’s National Civil Police rescued 129 migrants on Saturday after smugglers abandoned them in a tractor trailer. The group consisted 109 Haitians, 11 Nepalese, and nine Ghanaians. They were expected to be expelled to Honduras, according to the Guatemalan Institute of Migration
Guatemala’s National Civil Police said the migrants were in a locked truck that was abandoned on the side of a highway connecting the municipalities of Cocales and Nueva Concepción in Escuintla
The migrants reportedly paid the smugglers to be ferried across the Guatemala-Mexico border and then toward the northern Mexico region where they anticipated crossing the United States border.
All of the migrants were provided medical assistance and transferred to shelters operated by the Guatemalan Institute of Migration.
Guatemalan Institute of Migration spokeswoman Alejandra Mena said all of the migrants would be expelled to Honduras.
Migrants wait for assistance on the side of a road in southern Guatemala on Saturday after they were rescued from a locked truck abandoned by smugglers they had contracted to ferry them to Mexico and the United States
Guatemalan law enforcement agents found 129 migrants, including 109 from Haiti, trapped in a tractor trailer Saturday in the city of Escuintla
‘They will be transferred to Honduras, as it is the country from which they entered, and the reason is because they did not have the necessary immigration documentation to enter Guatemalan territory,’ Mena said.
Guatemala shares a 571-mile border with the Mexican southern states of Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas, and serves as a key transiting point for criminal groups smuggling migrants into Mexico and then the United States.
On Thursday night, a total of 652 Central American migrants were found crammed in six shipping containers hauled by three trucks in northeastern Mexico.
According to Panama’s National Migration Service, more than 91,300 migrants, most of them natives of Haiti, have crossed via the Darien Gap jungle to Panama from Colombia during the first nine months of 2021, surpassing the record of 30,000 in 2016.
The report showed that 56,600 Haitian migrants accompanied by children at one point born in Central and South America trekked through the dangerous jungle as part of their journey to Mexico and the United States.
Data released by the International Organization for Migration shows that more than 7,500 Haitian migrants were expelled from the U.S. over the previous three weeks after they tried to cross the United States-Mexico border.