A smuggling ring intended to transport Haitian migrants from Chile into the U.S. and Mexico was busted by Chilean police, international crime police Interpol reported Monday. 

The migrants included around 1,000 Haitians, of which 267 of them have been listed as children under the age of six. Some of the children were traveling without their parents or left alone due to their parents dying along the way.

“Border stations in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama were reporting that large numbers of children of Chilean nationality were stranded, unable to continue their journey to the United States,” Interpol said in a statement

Interpol’s Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants unit was contacted by Chile in March 2020 requesting any information on the case from Central and South America. This resulted in the list of hundreds of minors. The operation continued and was codenamed "Frontera Norte."

On Sept. 29, Chilean police arrested nine people suspected to be leaders of the ring. “Those detained include four Chileans, two Venezuelans, one Peruvian, one Haitian, and one Paraguayan, all of whom will face charges of unlawful association and migrant smuggling.”

Using the messaging service WhatsApp, the smuggling ring attracted migrants who sought to leave their country because of political problems and natural disasters. 

“It is horrifying to think what these vulnerable children, some just a few years old, have suffered,” said Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock in the statement. 

“The diligence of the Chilean PDI in investigating and dismantling this network, with support from other involved countries via Interpol shows what law enforcement cooperation can achieve when information is shared.”