Monday, March 24, 2014

Federal Mexican Immigration Agents Accused Of Kidnapping and Extortion In Tabasco

Several undocumented immigrants from Central America were detained by Mexican federal immigration agents, taken into an isolated jungle sector, then tortured, beaten and verbally threaten to pay for their freedom.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 24, 2014

Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico - On Monday, La 72 Immigrant Refuge Shelter Facebook page account denounced that corrupt federal authorities, including Federal Police and Federal Immigration agents from the National Institute of Migration (Mexico's agency equivalent to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have become an additional threat for undocumented immigrants from South and Central America in Tenosique. Franciscan Father Tomás González Castillo operates La 72 refuge shelter. 
Tenosique in a major travel point where thousands of immigrants catch a freight train to Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz on their way (route) through Mexico and the U.S. border. The train (bestia/beast) is known as the "Death Train or Tren de la Muerte."
Almost two months ago, Federal Police officers kidnapped several undocumented immigrants in Tenosique and then were forced to pay for their freedom after enduring torture, being beaten and extorted for money. On March 10, around 8:30 a.m., two undocumented immigrants were stopped and detained by several Mexican Federal immigration agents driving a government vehicle with license plate MVK9154. The Mexican immigration agents took the two victims to an isolated jungle sector where they were beaten, tortured, verbally abused and threaten to be kill, in order to extort them for $2.7M pesos ($207 U.S.) in return for their freedom. After giving up all the money they had to the agents, the victims were set free. 
The two extortion victims later notified the staff from the migrant shelter about their torture and paying to be set free and not get deported from Mexico.
La 72 Immigrant Refuge Shelter staff have previously complained to federal authorities and the the National Institute of Migration about corrupt federal agents involved in kidnappings, tortures and multiple extortions of undocumented immigrants from South and Central America making their way through Tenosique enroute to the U.S. Border. Immigrants are now falling pray to the same authorities that are supposed to protect them from criminal organizations operating along the Tenosique and railroad route to Veracruz. Armed gangs (Zetas and Mara Salvatrucha's or MS-13) ride La Bestia and force undocumented immigrants riding the train to pay quotas between $100 to $300 dollars or get thrown overboard. Multiple homicides have been reported along the Bestia route of immigrants who couldn't pay quotas were either raped, shot, stabbed, hacked by machetes and thrown overboard the Bestia train while it was moving. Their bodies including both genders have been found along the route and railroad tracks.
La 72 Immigrant Refuge Shelter has requested for the National Institute of Migration to launch an internal investigation of alleged corrupt agents stationed in Tenosique involved in extortions and beatings of undocumented immigrants. It has also demanded for Mexico's Secretary of Governance, the Assistant Secretary of Migration and other federal agencies to investigate the allegations cited by La 72 Immigrant Refuge Shelter.

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