A tractor trailer packed with migrants passed through an immigration checkpoint just before it crashed, killing 57, surveillance footage reveals.
The fatal December 9th crash happened in Mexico along the Chiapa de Corzo-Tuxtla Gutiérrez highway, and injured more than 100 people. Now, footage from the government security cameras shows the same truck passing through a toll plaza staffed with National Immigration Institute agents.
In the footage, two INM vehicles can be seen parked in the lane next to the semi truck in question. However, it does not appear that the rig was subjected to any sort of inspection at the plaza.
Since the wreck, the people allegedly responsible for smuggling the migrants have been identified, and the federal Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into the accident and the smuggling operation.
Mexico News Daily reports that more than 40 of the 110 people injured in the wreck have been discharged from the hospital, and the INM has offered humanitarian visas to some of the surviving migrants, but only three Guatemalans and one Dominican Republic national accepted. Twenty of these migrants chose to go back to their home countries, and three remain in Mexico and have yet to make a decision.
Some of the migrants involved in the wreck are still missing, and some of their families have even received phone calls claiming that their loved ones have been kidnapped and that they will require a ransom to free them.
“They’ve been calling us and saying they have information about my missing friend, they’re asking for $3,000 to release him because they kidnapped him. But how are we going to pay if we can barely get together 2,000 quetzales [US $260] to go to Chiapas,” said Pedro Méndez, whose brother was injured in the accident and is also missing. He says he plans to collect donations from neighbors and friends in order to pay for his travel to search for the migrants that are still missing.
“We don’t know anything about him and [the presumed kidnappers] have been calling from Mexican telephone numbers asking us for $2,000 or $3,000 for … information about where he is,” said Elvira Alguá Morales, whose 17-year-old brother is still missing after the wreck.