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  1. The x-ray view of the inside of a truck where 513 illegal immigrants were found in Tuxtla Gutierrez, northern Mexico, on May 17 in handout photo provided by ythe Government of Chiapas. Authorities detected two trucks with immigrants from at least nine countries, while the vehicles crossed a checkpoint with x-ray. According to National Migration Institute authorities this is the most important finding of immigrants in the country. (Government of Chiapas via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A group of illegal immigrants are found inside a truck in Tuxtla Gutierrez, northern Mexico, May17. (PGJECH via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Some of the 513 illegal immigrants who were discovered by Mexican policemen when travelling in inhumane conditions in two trailers across the state of Chiapas, Mexico, May 17. The immigrants, coming from China, India, Nepal, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, will remain in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the state, where they are receiving humanitarian aid. (René De Jesus Araujo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: An X-ray view of the inside of a truck where  some of the 513 illegal immigrants were found in Tuxtla Gutierrez, northern Mexico, on 17 May.
    Government of Chiapas via EPA
    Above: Slideshow (3) Migrants found crammed in trucks
  2. MM78 Mexican Cults
    Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images
    Slideshow (32) Narco culture permeates Mexico, leaks across border
Image: 513 U.S.-bound migrants stopped in Mexico
Alejandro Estrada  /  AP
Chiapas authorities say they rescued 513 migrants: 410 of the migrants were from Guatemala, 47 from El Salvador, 32 from Ecuador, 12 from India, six from Nepal, three from China and one each from Japan, the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
updated 5/18/2011 11:44:00 AM ET 2011-05-18T15:44:00

Police in Mexico's southern Chiapas state found 513 migrants on Tuesday inside two trailer trucks bound for the United States, and said they had been transported in dangerously crowded conditions.

Chiapas state police discovered the migrants while using X-ray equipment on the trucks at a checkpoint in the outskirts of city of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Some of the immigrants were suffering from dehydration after traveling for hours clinging to cargo ropes strung inside the containers to keep them upright as the trucks bounced along from the Guatemalan border, and allow more migrants to be more crammed in on the floor.

Story: 'More will die': Mexico drug wars claim U.S. lives

The trucks had air holes punched in the tops of the containers, but migrants interviewed at the state prosecutors' office said they lacked air and water. The trucks were bound for the central city of Puebla, where the migrants said they had been told they would be loaded aboard a second set of vehicles for the trip to the U.S. border.

"We were suffering, it was very hot and we were clinging to the ropes," said Mario, a 23-year-old Honduran migrant who identified himself only by his first name, for security reasons. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission says thousands of undocumented migrants are kidnapped and held for ransom by drug gangs in Mexico each year.

Cartel involvement?
None of the migrants would say whether any drug gang had been involved in the mass smuggling scheme. They said smugglers were charging them about $7,000 apiece to get them into the United States.

A Guatemalan migrant who identified himself as Juan said remaining in his hometown in Guatemala was not an option, noting "a lot of us are Indians, and we can't stay in our homes. There is no work, and there's nothing to eat."

An agent for the National Immigration Institute who was not authorized to be quoted by name said it was the largest shipment of migrants detained in Mexico in recent years.

Slideshow: Narco culture permeates Mexico, leaks across border (on this page)

Police also arrested four people accused of smuggling the migrants, who are from Central and South America and Asia, Chiapas state prosecutors said in a statement.

The alleged smugglers tried to escape police but were chased down and captured, prosecutors said.

The immigration institute said in a statement that 410 of the migrants were from Guatemala, 47 from El Salvador, 32 from Ecuador, 12 from India, six from Nepal, three from China and one each from Japan, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. There were 32 women and four children among them.

In January, Chiapas state authorities discovered 219 migrants squeezed into a trailer truck.

Most of those migrants were from Central America but six were from Sri Lanka and four from Nepal.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Drug smugglers' new transport method

Explainer: Mexico's drug cartel bosses

  • The nefarious drug lords of Mexico's underworld have emerged as the world's most wanted criminals.

    They're savage, rich and ingenious in their ability to move massive shipments of narcotics into the United States and worldwide. They manage trafficking organizations like CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and one kingpin was even listed as No. 41 on the Forbes list of the 500 most powerful people in the world.

    The following are key players in Mexico's drug wars.

    (Source: Msnbc.com research, The Associated Press and Reuters)

  • Shorty

    Image: Joaquin Guzman
    Damian Dovarganes  /  AP FILE
    Joaquín Guzmán.

    Name: Joaquín Guzmán Loera
    Nickname: El Chapo (Shorty)
    Cartel: Sinaloa
    Born: April, 4, 1957
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: The billionaire drug lord is Mexico's most wanted criminal on both sides of the border. The 5-foot-6-inch Guzmán is known for his use of sophisticated tunnels to smuggle cocaine from Mexico into the United States in the early 1990s. He escaped a maximum-security prison in a laundry cart in 2001. Since, he's been blamed for igniting bloody turf wars throughout Mexico. In November 2010, Guzmán was listed at 60th among the 68 most powerful people in the world by Forbes Magazine.
    Personal affairs: Guzmán married an 18-year-old beauty queen in 2007. A year later, his  22-year-old son, Edgar, died in a shootout with rivals. The grieving father ordered 50,000 red roses for the burial.

  • Sidekick

    Telemundo
    Ismael Zambada García

    Name: Ismael Zambada García
    Nickname: El Mayo
    Cartel: Sinaloa
    Born: Jan. 1, 1948
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: Zambada, a former furniture worker and farmer, is Joaquín Guzmán's partner and like his narco buddy, a fugitive from the law in Mexico and the United States. He's notorious for having plastic surgery and disguising himself as he travels throughout Mexico. Of course, he lives under a false identity. Zambada has been involved in drug trafficking for more than 30 years. There's no sign of his retiring.
    All in the family: Trafficking is deeply embedded in the family DNA. His wife, Rosario Niebla Cardoza, three sons and four daughters help dad with extensive narcotics distribution and money laundering. Both his brother and son have been arrested in Mexico.

  • Executioner

    Telemundo
    Heriberto Lazcano

    Name: Heriberto Lazcano
    Nickname: The Executioner, El Lazca, El Verdugo, Z-3
    Cartel: Los Zetas
    Born: Dec. 25, 1974
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: Lazcano deserted the Mexican army's special forces in the late 1990s to join the enforcers for the Zetas cartel, which takes its name from a police radio code in which "Z" means "commander." He is now considered its leader. The gang's break with a former ally, the Gulf cartel, ramped up violence in 2010 in parts of Mexico, where the Zetas have been blamed for slaughtering police officers, politicians, scores of migrants and the family of a fallen marine in retaliation for his involvement in bringing down a drug lord. Lazcano and his extremely loyal bodyguards are constantly on the move to avoid capture.
    Catholic ties: The 36-year-old drug lord was born in a poor farming town near Tezontle, a town now populated with opulent homes and a new Catholic church in honor of Pope John Paul II, which Lazcano reportedly funded. The Archdiocese of Mexico says it was aware and has since distanced itself from the chapel.

  • Brother

    Joe Raedle  /  Getty Images
    Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes

    Name: Vicente Carrillo Fuentes
    Nickname: Viceroy
    Cartel: Juarez
    Born: Oct. 16, 1962
    Bounty:$5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: Fuentes inherited the Juarez cartel from his brother, Amando Carrillo Fuentes, who was known as the "Lord of the Skies" because of his private fleet of Boeing 727 jets used to traffic cocaine. After his brother's death during plastic surgery, Vicente ramped up the violence by creating a group of bloodthirsty killers, including corrupt police officers, known as La Linea. They're known to decapitate rivals, especially members of the Sinaloa cartel, and dump their mutilated corpses in public to instill fear. This cartel, backed by the Zetas, works closely with a U.S. prison gang, the Barrio Azteca, to carry out murders. Federal authorities blame the Juarez cartel for hundreds of deaths and disappearances, since the cartel took over the trafficking corridor in 1993, The El Paso Times reported.
    Mystery man: Little is known of Fuentes, expect he is the third of six brothers and has six sisters.

  • Ex-cop

    Telemundo
    Jorge Eduardo Costilla

    Name: Jorge Eduardo Costilla
    Nickname: El Coss
    Cartel: Gulf
    Born: Aug. 1, 1971
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: A former Matamoros police officer, Costilla heads a cartel that allegedly grew out of bootleggers during the American Prohibition. He has been charged in the U.S. with 12 counts of drug trafficking and money laundering and is also wanted for assaulting federal officers with Kalashnikov rifles. He used to work closely with the Zetas cartel but now is at the forefront of a war to annihilate them.

  • Meth man

    Name: Nazario Moreno González
    Nickname: El Mas Loco, El Chayo
    Cartel: La Familia Michoacana
    Born: March 8, 1970, in Guanajuatillo, Michoacan
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: González specializes in trafficking crystal methamphetamine. He was raised a Catholic but converted to Jehovah's Witnesses. He requires each of his gangsters to carry his own Bible, which is compulsory reading. He invokes principles of divine justice when setting out to defeat his enemies and is a fan of the "Godfather" trilogy and the film "Braveheart."

  • Strongman

    Name: Héctor Beltrán Leyva
    Nickname: El Ingeniero, El H
    Cartel: Beltrán Leyva Cartel
    Born: Feb. 15, 1965
    Bounty: $5 million (U.S.), $2 million (Mexico)
    Background: He and his five brothers trafficked tons of marijuana, cocaine and heroine across the border. The brothers broke ties with the Sinaloa network in 2008 after brother Arturo Beltrán Leyva was arrested by Mexican special forces. The brothers blamed faction boss Joaquín Guzmán for the capture. Arturo was gunned down a year later by Mexican marines.

    In 2004, officials in New York and the District of Colombia indicted Beltrán Leyva on trafficking charges.

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