Mexico frees 44 being held for ransom

Police have rescued 44 people being held for ransom in Mexico, authorities said Friday.

The victims told police they had been picked up separately at a bus station in the town of Reynosa on the US border, and then tricked into going to a house where they ended up being held against payment of money from relatives.

A total of 27 were Mexican and the rest from Central America. Five of the detained people were minors.

Police found them during a routine patrol when they heard a woman calling out for help, the National Security Commission said.

Some 140,000 foreigners, most of them Central American, enter Mexico illegally each year trying to make their way to the United States. Many are robbed, kidnapped, subjected to extortion or even killed, the government says.