Mexican border patrol X-ray stops trucks with 500 headed for U.S.

| 5/18/2011

Hundreds of illegal immigrants headed to the United States by way of Mexico were rescued from hot trailers that lacked air and water Tuesday.


Photo courtesy of Chiapas state government

Immigrants are helped out of the trailers.

Early Tuesday morning, Mexican authorities in the south Mexican state of Chiapas rescued 513 immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean and Asia who huddled in two truck trailers while making a journey with plans to enter the United States.

The Chiapas government described the traveling conditions as “inhumane.”

X-ray machines at a checkpoint near Tuxtula Gutierrez showed police the hidden immigrants, which included 240 people in the first truck and trailer, a white Kenworth.

The first trailer had 211 Guatemalans, 19 Salvadorans, six Ecuadorians, three Chinese and one Japanese individual. The second truck, a burgundy Kenworth, pulled a trailer with 199 individuals from Guatemala, 28 from El Salvador, 26 from Ecuador, 12 from India, six from Nepal, one Honduran and one from the Dominican Republic.


Photo courtesy of Chiapas state government

X-ray images show many of the immigrants standing in a trailer, and authorities say the images tipped off law enforcement officers.

The trailer had holes punched into floors, and bright yellow ropes crisscrossed to provide the immigrants a way to stand during the journey.

The first truck’s driver, Jesus Margarito Perez Hernandez, of Mexico, was arrested along with Armando Perez Hernandez, also of Mexico, who rode with the driver.

Both trucks were insured. The immigrants reportedly were told they would be switching vehicles in Puebla, Mexico, before heading to the U.S.

Mario, a 23-year-old Honduran, told the Associated Press “we were suffering.”

“It was very hot and we were clinging to the ropes,” he told the AP.

The immigrants would not say whether a drug cartel had organized the trek.

“Rescued immigrants pay over a total of $7,000 each,” a Chiapas government news release stated after being translated to English.