MEXICO CITY — The discovery of 72 slain Central and South American migrants on a ranch just south of the US border provides a horrific reminder of the brutality of human trafficking in a country dominated by drug cartels.
A wounded Ecuadorean who escaped the killing ground in Mexico's Tamaulipas state told authorities that the migrants' abductors identified themselves as Zetas, a drug gang whose control of parts of the state is so brutal and complete that even many Mexicans avoid traveling its highways.
Migrants running the gauntlet up Mexico to reach the United States have long faced extortion, violence and theft. But reports have grown of mass kidnappings of migrants, who are forced to give the telephone numbers of relatives in the United States or back home who are then required to transfer ransom payments to the abductors.
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