Three Iraqis carrying invalid Greek passports have been detained in the northern Mexican city of Mexicali, across the U.S. border from California, Mexico's Interior Department announced Sunday.
The three Iraqis told Mexican officials they were Christians attempting to reach the United States to seek asylum from religious persecution, according to a government news release.
Last month, Mexico's attorney general's office announced that a Greek citizen was being held over for trial on charges he participated in a smuggling network that sold fake Greek passports to Iraqi migrants bound for the United States.
It was unclear if the recently arrested Iraqi migrants face prosecution or expulsion from Mexico.
The Interior Department referred all questions to the National Migration Institute, where officials could not be reached for comment. The federal attorney general's office had no further information.
The Iraqis were detained by migration officials within the "last few days," according to the Interior Department statement.
Greek Dimitrios Kiassos faces trial on charges he participated in a smuggling network that charged Iraqi migrants US$6,000 (Ђ5,000) for fake passports with the goal of reaching Tijuana, across the U.S. border from San Diego, and later crossing into the United States, according to prosecutors, AP reported.