Mexican officials find 31 locked inside truck

| 5/28/2003

Mexican authorities have discovered 31 undocumented immigrants locked in a windowless trailer and arrested the driver and two others, the Voice of America reported.

Police say officers in Veracruz made the find May 25 after they heard noises coming from both the interior and small holes bored into the side of the vehicle. On opening the door, police found the 31, including seven women and two children.

Investigators say the undocumented immigrants came from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Officials also say the immigrants had paid for passage through Mexico – a crossing point for Central Americans trying to reach the United States illegally.

Earlier this month, police in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas found 92 illegal immigrants packed into a refrigerated tractor-trailer headed north. Police arrested the truck's 38-year-old driver and turned his passengers over to immigration officials.

The police surveillance of trucks follows the deaths of 19 immigrants who were trapped inside a trailer found abandoned in southern Texas recently. Several suspects have been arrested in the incident, which has been described as the deadliest smuggling operation in the United States.