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Cuban immigrants reach Texas after being snatched by gunmen in Mexico
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    MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials said Thursday that at least 18 Cubans have reached Texas more than a week after masked gunmen hijacked an immigration bus in southern Mexico and seized them.
    Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that the U.S. Border Patrol detained the immigrants in Hidalgo County in Texas.
    At least six masked gunmen hijacked the bus along a remote jungle highway June 11. They forced seven unarmed immigration agents and two drivers to get off before they fled with 33 Cubans and four Central Americans who were being taken to a detention center for undocumented migrants.
    The bus was later found abandoned.
    It was unclear what happened to the remaining immigrants.
    The Attorney General’s Office said that the Cubans used fake Mexican identifications to reach the US border.
    Nine immigration officials and the two bus drivers have been detained for investigation of possible involvement in the hijacking, the Attorney General’s Office said.
    Mexico’s navy found the 33 Cubans two weeks ago on a yacht off of Cancun. The migrants told authorities they had left Cuba on a small boat and that two men on the yacht had offered them a lift.
    The Attorney General’s Office said the men on the yacht, both of Cuban origin, were detained on allegations they brought the migrants to Mexico.
    The two Cubans, who live in the United States, turned down an offer of bail, saying they feared for their lives, the Attorney General’s Office said.
    Several Cuban-Americans have been killed in the Yucatan Peninsula over the past two years and Mexican officials have said the victims were tied to an international trafficking ring that moved Cubans from Mexico to the United States.
    Mexico, whose Caribbean coast is about 120 miles (190 kilometers) southwest of Cuba, is increasingly used by smugglers as a route to get Cuban migrants into the United States, avoiding the threat of being caught at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard.
    Under U.S. policies, Cubans intercepted at sea are usually returned to the island while those who reach U.S. territory can usually stay.
    Cuban migrants detained in Mexico are seldom returned to Cuba and generally make their way to the U.S.

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