Mexico Uses Drones To Detain 241 Migrants, Including Seven Cubans

The detained migrants were checked by Red Cross paramedics. (Facebook/Red Cross)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 17 April 2023 — The Yucatan State Police arrested 241 migrants between Friday and Saturday, including a group of seven Cubans who were traveling along with 155 other people in two trucks. Among the nationals of the Island is “a family with a minor” who “asked not to be separated, but that now  depends on the National Institute of Migration (INM),” an officer identified as Darío told 14ymedio.

The agency has received alerts about the flow of migrants since the middle of last month, said the uniformed man, who explained that this made it possible to locate two groups, one of 155 and one more with 86 undocumented persons who were detected “thanks to drones flying over a garbage dump.”

The Cubans are now in the INM facilities in Yucatan. “These people will not be deported,” Darío stressed, but they will be returned to the border with Guatemala “when Migration defines their situation.” According to him, the migrants “receive a 20-day residence permit to leave the country, but what they do is continue towards the United States border.”

The detention of the Cubans took place at a checkpoint located on the road from Mérida to Campeche. “At the time of the review, seven of the people traveling presented regular stay permits and were released; the rest were handed over to the INM. The drivers were arrested.”

The officer said that these migrants planned to reach Campeche and from there “cross Veracruz until they reach Tamaulipas. It’s what we know as the Gulf of Mexico route.” These arrests are not part of the routes being investigated by the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office, which so far has not offered results.

In addition to the seven Cubans arrested, there are 67 from Guatemala, 45 from India, nine from Brazil and the Dominican Republic, seven from Honduras, six from Vietnam and five from El Salvador.

A group of migrants were trying to reach Campeche when they were located and detained. (Facebook)

Of the 86 migrants arrested in the municipal garbage dump of Seyé, a town of 10,000 inhabitants that supports its local economy by leasing hostels and houses to tourists, the officer mentioned that “the coyotes who brought them abandoned them.”

A first group with 40 people from India, 15 from Guatemala and one from El Salvador “was helped by residents, who notified the authorities.” According to the data offered, “they paid between 300 and 600 pesos to be taken on an alternate route to Campeche, but on the way the coyotes abandoned them.”

The police used drones to locate the rest of the migrants who were scattered on the mountain. “There are seven children and a pregnant woman in the group. Everyone was given medical assistance, and after that they were handed over to Migration.”

According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, last year 444,439 migrants were arrested for illegal entry into Mexico, of whom 42,667 were Cubans. As of February, 17,023 Island nationals entered Mexico with documents.

Meanwhile, the Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission reported that 2,596 Cubans have applied for asylum.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.