(Photo: REUTERS/Alonso Castillo)
165 migrants have been rescued in Mexico near the United States border, after being held captive for the past three weeks, according to reports.
The rescue took place in La Joya on Thursday, according to Mexico's Interior Ministry. It has been described that the 165 victims had been attempting to cross the border into the United States, but were instead handed over by the groups transporting them to criminal groups.
Their captors demanded money from the group's families, the Interior Ministry's spokesperson Eduardo Sanchez has said.
"The victims said that they had the intention of entering the United States of America, but they were held against their will while a suspected criminal group contacted their families by phone and demanded different sums of money that were sent to their kidnappers," Sanchez said.
Out of the 165 migrants, 150 are reported to be from Central America, 14 from Mexico, and one from India. Two of the victims were pregnant, and 20 others were minors.
Once abducted the group was taken to a fenced-in home, where they have been kept for the past two to three weeks.
The rescue came after an anonymous tip was made to authorities claiming that there were weapons at a home in Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, a city in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The problem of criminal groups taking advantage of people attempting to illegally cross the border into the United States has been a constant problem which has been highlighted increasingly over recent years. In 2010, Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights reported that 11,333 migrants were kidnapped in just 6 months in that year.
Here is a video news report into the rescue: