About 100 migrants, including children, have been kidnapped during their long trek to the United States — presumably by the dangerous drug cartel Los Zetas, according to a new report.
The migrants weren’t among the thousands who arrived in Mexico City on Monday, Arturo Peimbert, the ombudsman for the human- rights commission in Oaxaca, Mexico, told HuffPost Mexico.
Peimbert said the group was kidnapped in Puebla state while trying to reach the capital from Veracruz — where a bloody turf war has been unfolding between rival cartels Jalisco New Generation and Los Zetas.
He said the federal government has put “strong pressure” on transportation companies to not pick up migrants along the way — which forced them to walk through an unsafe area known as “the largest grave in the country, where hundreds of people have disappeared,” according to a translation by Britain’s Independent newspaper.
The abducted migrants were likely turned over to Los Zetas, Peimbert said.
The Zetas are “one of the most powerful and violent criminal organizations in Mexico,” according to information from the US State Department.
The group was formed by deserters from the Mexican Special Forces and has made a name for itself working as a security force and cocaine trafficker for the Gulf Cartel.
Zetas have been known to prey on migrant caravans and often ransom travelers unlucky enough to be caught up in their web, according to Al Jazeera.
In 2011, Zetas rounded up and executed 193 migrants fewer than 100 miles from the US-Mexico border in what came to be known as the San Fernando Massacre, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio.
In one instance, the gang marched 72 people at gunpoint to a farm and shot them in the back one by one, according to Al Jazeera. Just two people escaped with their lives.