Mexican police detain 37 CentAm migrants

Mexico City, Mar 7 (EFE).- The Federal Police detained 37 Honduran and Salvadoran migrants in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the National Security Council said.

The migrants were found during an operation at kilometer 235 of the Mexico City-Ciudad Cuauhtemoc highway, the council, a Government Secretariat agency, said.

Officers checking immigration documents found the 35 Hondurans and two Salvadorans on a bus that was coming from the southern state of Chiapas.

Six children were in the group, which could not show that it was in the country legally, the council said.

Bus driver Jose Alejandro Perez, 45, and his assistant, Francisco Noe Lopez, 49, were arrested by Federal Police officers, the council said in a statement.

The suspected people traffickers were handed over to federal prosecutors, "who will determine their roles and legal situation," the council said.

The migrants were taken to a National Migration Institute, or INM, facility, "where they were treated by doctors and their immigration status will be reviewed," the council said.

Earlier this week, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, who is known for his work with Central American migrants, said during a conference in Mexico City that he was concerned about the government's increasing emphasis on policing in its immigration policy.

The Catholic priest, who founded the Hermanos del Camino shelter in Oaxaca, was forced to leave Mexico for a short time last year after receiving threats.

"Sometimes there are few migrants and up to 80 armed (Federal Police) officers, who get involved in everything" at the INM station in Acayucan, Veracruz, the priest said.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials say.