Migrants smugglers are now using luxury tour buses to move Central and South American migrants from Mexico’s southern border to the United States, authorities said.
Two buses carrying 102 migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador were intercepted yesterday in the north-central state of Zacatecas, the National Migration Institute said in a statement.
The migrants had paid between USD 7,000 and USD 10,000 to be taken from the state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, to the northern border city of Reynosa, the statement said.
The traffickers did not provide food or water for more than two days “to avoid stops and arrive faster and without delay to the northern border,” it said.
The institute said the use of “luxury” buses from the companies Turismos Crucero and Tours Tomaren marked a “new mode of operation” for traffickers.
Under pressure from the United States, Mexico’s government cracked down on illegal migration at its border with Guatemala in 2014 following a crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the US border.
Among the operations, authorities sought to deter migrants from hitching a ride on top of a freight train known as “The Beast,” which has been a popular way to travel north for years.