Authorities caught four Uber drivers carrying illegal immigrants across the southern U.S. border earlier in June.
After the human trafficking effort was halted, the drivers said they were not the owners of the vehicles, but did work as drivers under Uber, a Coahuila state official at the National Migration Institute said, according to Reuters.
The migrants confessed to investigators that they each paid 3,000 pesos ($162) to be taken on the treacherous journey, reports Reuters. It is not yet known if the immigrants used the ride-sharing service’s system to organize the illegal smuggling.
The drivers apparently departed from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey and traveled south to Matehuala. The convoy then headed hundreds of miles north towards the city of Reynosa, adjacent to the border with Texas. (RELATED: State Department To Fly Central American Children Into US)
Uber said in a statement they do not operate in Matehuala and that only three of the drivers were registered in their database. They also emphasized that one of the drivers was discharged nine months ago, and the other two were immediately let go after INM notified them of the situation.
The ride-hailing service denies any culpability because the company claims it does “not own the cars registered on the platform, nor does it employ the drivers, who are independent contractors,” but stressed that they would help the authorities with any investigations.
Uber has been involved in smuggling cases before. Doguin explained that around “two months ago seven other vehicles were detected in the area of San Luis Potosi state … and were also in the Uber system.”
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