AT LEAST 50 people are missing including a Texas mom, her two kids, and three other US citizens and residents after they traveled along Mexico’s “Highway of Death.”
Texas mom Gladys Perez Sanchez, 39, and her two children, John Carlos Gonzalez, 16, and Michelle Christina Duran, 9, are among the missing[/caption]
Searches have begun for the missing 50 people[/caption]
Local governments only announced a joint program to tackle the troubling disappearances on Friday as concerned families call for more action.
About six men have reappeared after going missing along the road, according to Associated Press.
They said that armed men forced them to stop along the highway and that they were badly beaten and had their vehicles stolen.
It is unclear what happened to the other missing people and if they were approached by similiar groups of armed men.
Families protest the lack of action on Thursday[/caption]
People had been going missing for weeks before the government took action[/caption]
The majority of those missing are believed to be from Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located, and are thought to have gone missing as they were approaching or leaving the cartel-dominated city of Nuevo Laredo.
The city has long been dominated by the Northeast Cartel, a remnant of the old Zetas cartel, whose members were infamous for their violence, AP reports.
It lies just across the border from Laredo, Texas.
Half a dozen of those missing are also believed to be US citizens or residents.
Among them are Texas mom Gladys Perez Sanchez, 39, and her two children, John Carlos Gonzalez, 16, and Michelle Christina Duran, 9.
Some families have begun to launch searches in the area[/caption]
Families have left pictures of the missing along the highway[/caption]
They were last seen on June 13 after a visit with family members in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon.
The FBI issued a plea for information on Friday as they shared a picture of the family and the car they were driving, a yellow 2014 Chevrolet Sonic.
Another is José de Jesús Gómez from Irving, Texas, who reportedly disappeared on the highway on June 3.
While the disappearances have been ramping up for months, the government of Nuevo Leon failed to warn travelers of any danger until this week.
It came after receiving reports of dozens of missing travelers for weeks.
The Nuevo Leon government announced the partnership with authorities in Tamaulipas, where Nuevo Laredo is located, on Friday as policing and security along the highway was increased.
The FBI is searching for the missing US family[/caption]
The delay has been criticized by local activists who believe lives could have been saved if local governments at least warned travelers weeks ago.
Families took to the streets to protest on Thursday as others have launched their own searches.
Activists have also voiced concern that the disappearances are reminiscent of the worst days of Mexico’s drug war.
“It’s no longer between the cartels; they are attacking the public,” said Angelica Orozco, a member of the civic group United Forces for Our Disappeared.
During the dark days of the 2006-2012 drug war, cartels would often target innocent members of the public.
Local government has now increased security along the highway[/caption]
None of the disappeared have yet been found[/caption]
It included incidents in 2011 when passengers would be dragged off buses and forced to fight to the death with sledgehammers, AP reports.
“Now, more than 10 years after the disappearances in 2010 and 2011, they cannot continue to use the same pretexts,” Orozco claimed of the government’s comments.
“They’re using the same lines,” she added.
“In the last decade they were supposed to have created institutions and procedures, but it’s the same old story of authorities doing nothing.”
Karla Moreno, whose husband, Artemio Moreno, disappeared on the road on April 13, has also questioned why security is only being increased this week.
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“Only now is the National Guard going out to patrol the highway. Why did they wait so long?” she said.
“How can this be happening? We were supposed to have more (law enforcement) resources by now.”
The disappearances near the border come as the Biden administration is criticized for its handling of the surge in migrants making illegal crossings into the US.
Former President Donald Trump on Saturday blasted Biden over immigration and claimed countries are emptying their prisons into the US.