115 Migrants Held by Smugglers for Ransom Rescued in Ciudad Juárez

Juarez Police
File Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty

Mexican police in Ciudad Juárez rescued a group of 115 migrants being held against their will by human smugglers earlier this week. Police were tipped off to the incident by an anonymous report. The police raid resulted in the arrest of three human smugglers — one, a Central American migrant from El Salvador.

Municipal Police in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, received an anonymous complaint that a large group of migrants was being held against their will at a residence in colonia San Antonio. Officers launched a rescue operation and upon approaching the residence observed three individuals, later identified as the human smugglers or “polleros,” attempt to flee on foot. Police placed the three into custody and heard cries for help coming from inside the residence. Officers made entry and discovered a total of 115 migrants being held — including 12 minors — according to Ricardo Realivázquez, the Secretary of Public Security for Ciudad Juárez and reported by local media.

During follow up, the migrants told investigative personnel that the human smugglers, later identified as Jesús Antonio SV – 28, José Efraín PP – 26, and Marisol PS – 20, promised them safe passage into the U.S. for an agreed $30,000 peso ($1,530.00 USD) smuggling fee. Once the migrants made the payment, the smugglers demanded a second $30,000-peso payment and threatened that if the migrants did not meet the demand, they would be killed. The smugglers then demanded that the migrants contact family in the U.S. or their country of origin to collect the second payment being demanded as a ransom to secure their safe release.

The migrants came to Mexico from Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. They are part of the humanitarian crisis caused by the mass migration of migrants flooding the city as they seek to cross into the U.S. and request political asylum. The residence being used by the human smugglers had been abandoned for several years and was most recently being used as a warehouse according to government officials. Officials turned all of the migrants over to the Mexican government Institute of National Migration (INM). The migrants all had reportedly arrived recently in the city as part of a larger group of migrants hoping to cross into the United States.

Breitbart’s Cartel Chronicles reported on this crisis and reported on how many of these migrants are being victimized by local criminal organization or cartels. Some of these migrants are also engaged in criminal activity. A recent Breitbart report in May documented the murder of four Honduran migrants who died when cartel gunmen raided a drug house. They were at in the border city of  Ciudad Juárez at the time of the murders.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at robertrarce@gmail.com.

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