MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities have freed 44 Guatemalan migrants who were being held in captivity by a band of six human traffickers.

The migrants found at a safe house near the Guatemalan border include seven women and two boys, and are being held pending their return to Guatemala.

Mexico's National Immigration Institute said Thursday that the six Guatemalan smugglers were also caught and are being held pending human trafficking charges.

The institute said the gang transported migrants from Guatemala to the United States.

Smugglers frequently hold migrants to extort more money from their relatives.