Law enforcement officers and government agents were able to rescue 22 foreigners in a raid conducted late Tuesday in a remote area between Matehuala and the regional capital in Mexico. The 22 foreigners, most of whom were Cuban and Haitian, were part of a group kidnapped by gunmen who had stormed a hotel in San Luis Potosi State earlier in the day.
Authorities said 16 Mexicans were also kidnapped when the gunmen ransacked the Sol y Luna Hotel in Matehuala. The gunmen reportedly released the Mexicans not long after but kept the foreign nationals.
Arturo Garza Herrera, the attorney general of the state, said authorities were able to immediately track down the whereabouts of the kidnappers and the foreign nationals. He added that the kidnapped foreigners are now being transferred to the city of San Luis Potosi for assessment and medical treatment.
Initial reports indicated that some of those kidnapped were Venezuelan nationals. Garza did not verify the reports but said that three minors and a pregnant woman were among those that were forcefully taken from the hotel. Garza said they are still trying to verify the nationalities of the foreigners and they are actively working with relevant embassies.
"I am going to notify the migration institute so that they can be involved since we do not know the migratory status of these people," Garza said.
The gunmen, who have yet to be identified, stormed the hotel in San Luis Potosi before ransacking the establishment. Witnesses said the gunmen stole the hotel's guest logbook, which made it hard to identify who was kidnapped.
Mexican authorities immediately launched an investigation into the incident and deployed officers to locate and rescue the kidnapped guests.
Matehuala and San Luis Potosi are both known stopovers for migrants hoping to reach the United States. Illegal immigrants often face great danger in their journey, most of which become victims of extortion, kidnappings, rape, and even murder. Some migrants have also been forced by drug cartels to become drug-trafficking mules.
According to data from several human rights groups, about 3,300 migrants stranded along the Mexico-U.S. border have been victims of violent crimes since January.