Working with U.S., Guatemala detains 10 people in raids on migrant smugglers

GUATEMALA CITY, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Guatemalan authorities working with the U.S. Homeland Security agency on Friday arrested 10 people in raids against a migrant smuggling group linked to the massacre of 19 people in Mexico last year, Guatemalan officials said.

Guatemala's Public Prosecutor's Office said 19 raids were being carried out in the western town of Comitancillo to dismantle the human smuggling network that took the Guatemalan migrants to Mexico.

"An operation is underway," said Juan Luis Pantaleon, spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor's Office.

A national police spokesperson said eight men and two women had been detained so far.

Sixteen of the 19 people killed in the gruesome massacre in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas state in January 2021 were Guatemalans.

Their bodies, some badly charred and with gunshot wounds, were found along a migrant smuggling route in a remote area of Tamaulipas.

Most of the Guatemalans killed were from Comitancillo, in the San Marcos department, west of Guatemala City. Investigations into the murders pointed to the involvement of 12 members of the Mexican police.

Every year, thousands of Central Americans and Mexicans flee poverty and violence to seek a better life in the United States. Many fall victim to crime on the perilous journey.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

((; Reuters Messaging:

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