MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The number of migrants detained in Mexico surged 78% in January from a year ago, Mexico's National Immigration Institute said Monday.
It said 16,740 migrants, mainly from Central America, were detained between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30. That compares with the 9,406 people detained without proper documents in the same period of 2021.
It was unclear if the number of migrants was less last year because of last winter's brutal coronavirus surge.
Children and youths under age 18 made up 14.5% of the migrants detained, and a total of 780 were found to be unaccompanied by family members, the agency said.
Of the 16,740 migrants, 6,297, or 38%, were from Asia, Africa, Europe or other parts of the world outside the Americas.
Migrants smugglers in Mexico have recently been trying some innovative methods, including ferrying migrants for hundreds of miles on the backs of motorcycles or smuggling them in vehicles with fake logos.
Last week authorities said eight motorcycles, each with a driver and a Cuban migrant riding on the back, were stopped at a checkpoint in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco about 180 miles (300 kilometers) from where they had set out. They were headed for the northern state of Coahuila, more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away. The drivers were detained, and the migrants turned over to immigration officials.
Those detentions came just days after 28 Nicaraguans were found crammed inside a fake ambulance painted with logos from a government health agency. The vehicle was stopped in Mexico's Pacific coast state of Oaxaca.
Immigrant traffickers in Mexico general try to smuggle migrants in buses or freight trucks. The trucks are often painted with the logos of well-known companies to try to avoid scrutiny.
Migrants found in such circumstances are usually returned to their home countries, unless they are the victims of a crime.