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Armed men kidnapped migrants in Mexico to demand redemption

Mexican prosecutors say armed men who recently abducted 23 migrants in northern Mexico had planned to demand redemption from their relatives living in the United States

MEXICO CITY – Armed men who briefly kidnapped 23 migrants from a Mexican hotel had planned to demand redemption from their relatives living in the United States, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

It was not clear why the armed gang that kidnapped a total of 39 people from a hotel early on Tuesday later released them all, although the prosecutor’s office in the northern state of San Luis Potosi said it was because the abductors knew they were applying by authorities.

The office said the migrants among the abductees included Cubans, Haitians and Venezuelans.

Prosecutors said police are investigating the 16 Mexicans who were also snatched from the hotel in the town of Matehuala where the migrants lived, to see if any were involved in migrant smuggling. The office said that “there may be a possibility that they were informants, or may have been the ones who took them (migrants) north.”

Armed men traveling in three vehicles pulled up to the hotel before dawn on Tuesday with the intention of kidnapping the migrants and forcing them to provide telephone numbers to relatives living in the United States, prosecutors said.

The Mexicans were found on a road near a convenience store late Tuesday, and the migrants were found in a nearby village. Everyone is now safe.

More expensive immigrant smuggling activities often place their customers in small hotels when they move them north. Organized criminal gangs traditionally levy a tax on every migrant who moves through their territory. If that tax is not paid or if a competing smuggling group sees an opportunity, such abductions may occur.

Rival gangs also sometimes simply hijack groups of migrants from other traffickers.

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