MEXICO CITY – A survivor has told police that 72 people found dead at a ranch near the Mexican border with Texas were migrants kidnapped by an armed group, a federal official said Wednesday.
The bodies of 58 men and 14 women were discovered Tuesday when Marines manning a checkpoint on a highway in the northern state of Tamaulipas were approached by a wounded man who said he had been attacked by gang gunmen at a nearby ranch.
A federal official said that man had identified himself an illegal migrant. The man said he and other migrants had been kidnapped by an armed group and taken to the ranch in San Fernando, a town about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas, according to the federal official, who had access to the investigation. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
The official said police believe the migrants were mostly from Central America — a population that has been increasingly targeted by drug gangs who demand money from U.S.-bound foreigners or who kidnap them to claim ransoms from relatives in the United States or their home countries.