Seven suspects in the massacre of 72 migrants in northern
Mexico have been arrested, police said Wednesday, dpa reported.
National security spokesman Alejandro Poire said at a press conference that the seven had been arrested in two separate raids days earlier. He said they admitted to having taken part in the mass killings, which were discovered on August 24 at a ranch in the state of Tamaulipas.
Four of the seven suspects were arrested by the Navy following a clash on Friday near San Fernando, the municipality where the killings happened. Two bodies were found in a grave, and three kidnapped people were rescued.
The other three suspects were arrested later, Poire said, without providing additional details.
The seven suspects were handed over to the attorney general's office, which is investigating the killing of 72 Central and South American migrants who were on their way to the United States.
Officials said Monday that an additional six people suspected of being involved in the massacre were dead: Three of these alleged killers were found dead after an anonymous telephone tip, while three were killed in clashes with the Navy.
Poire said the arrests were very important "to dissolve these gangs" and "to limit aggression" on migrants going through Mexico. He said such groups were present in many countries, including in the countries of origin of the migrants and the United States. Defeating such gangs was "a regional challenge," he said.
The migrants were kidnapped late last month, allegedly by the criminal gang Los Zetas, which demanded money. Since the migrants didn't have any, they were asked to work for the gang for 1,000 dollars a fortnight. When they refused, they were shot, according to a survivor's account.
An estimated 28,000 people have been killed in Mexico in incidents linked to organized crime since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006.
The involvement of drug gangs in the trafficking of migrants is a relatively new development.