The scheme appeared to have worked until the driver crashed the truck into a cement guardrail on a highway in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.
The logos of the Mexican food security agency and its affiliated chain of food stores, Diconsa, were found on the truck. The agency distributes basic foods to government stores where they are sold at discount prices.
The agency said in a statement late Tuesday that the smugglers “forged” the logos “in order to transport Central American migrants.”
The migrants, including eight children, suffered only slight injuries and were taken into custody by authorities. The driver fled.
Migrants often pay smugglers to take them in buses or trucks across Mexico to reach the U.S. border. In the past, trucks carrying migrants have been found with fake logos from private companies to avoid being noticed.
However, such trips are very dangerous, given that smugglers often pack too many people into freight containers.
In a Dec. 9 truck crash in southern Mexico, 56 migrants were killed when a smuggler’s semitrailer truck rolled over on a highway. The truck was packed with as many as 250 migrants and survivors said that speed and weight of the human cargo might have played a role in the crash.