Mexico Investigating Possible Involvement Of Officials In migrant Killings

Marco Pablo, father of Guatemalan migrant Anderson (16)- believed to be among the 19 people killed in Mexico - speak with relatives at his home in Nueva Esperanza village, Guatemala on January 28, 2021. - At least 19 charred corpses believed to be Guatemalan migrants- were discovered on January 24 in Mexico near the US border in an area where drug cartels often clash, the Tamaulipas state prosecutor's office said. (Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

MONTERREY, Mexico, Feb. 2, 2021 (Reuters) – Mexico is investigating whether any officials were involved in the suspected massacre of 19 people in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas after a truck reportedly seized by immigration authorities before the killings was found at the scene of the crime.

“We are going to see if there is any responsibility on the part of any officials or public servants of the National Migration Institute itself,” Mexico’s interior minister, Olga Sanchez, said on Monday.

State prosecutors have so far genetically identified two Guatemalans and two Mexicans among the 19 victims, whose bodies were badly charred.

Some Guatemalan families have said they feared loved ones trying to migrate to the United States were among those killed in Tamaulipas.

A truck found at the scene of the crime had been seized by immigration authorities in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon in December, local media reported.

Nuevo Leon’s immigration institute did not respond to requests for comment about the truck’s seizure. Nuevo Leon’s prosecutor’s office referred Reuters to Tamaulipas’ prosecutor’s office, which on Saturday said the truck had been located at the scene of a “rescue” of 66 foreigners by local police and immigration authorities in December. The office said on Monday it could not confirm the truck’s subsequent seizure by the immigration agency.

Sanchez said the federal government was aware of the truck and the fact that it may have been in the possession of immigration authorities but said that the matter was still under investigation.

The killings have caused renewed consternation in Mexico about the perils faced by migrants, many of whom come from the three violent and impoverished Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Adriana Barrera, writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)