Around 150 migrants found abandoned in truck in Mexico

US and Mexican law enforcement patrol the border in January 2018.

        PHOTO | FILE

More than 150 Central American migrants were found abandoned in an overcrowded truck in southern Mexico, authorities said Thursday.

A routine inspection led to the discovery of 144 Guatemalans, six Nicaraguans and three Salvadorans in the vehicle left near a highway, the security secretary in the state of Chiapas said.

They received medical care and food before being handed over to the immigration authorities, the secretary said.

Officials in Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, have stepped up efforts to find US-bound migrants traveling in trucks -- one of the most dangerous methods used by people smugglers in Mexico.

In December, 56 US-bound migrants from Central America were killed and dozens injured when the truck they were traveling in overturned in southern Mexico.

Around 6,430 migrants have died or disappeared en route to the United States since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Of those, 850 were the result of vehicle accidents or linked to hazardous transport, the United Nations agency says.

In June, more than 50 migrants died after they were abandoned in a scorching hot tractor-trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas.