Migrants snared in multi-million dollar kidnap racket on U.S.-Mexico border

October 16, 2014

10/13/14 Reuters

gr-mexico-immigrants-624Tens of thousands of Central American migrants are being kidnapped, abused and extorted by Mexican gangs just yards from the United States in a growing racket that may be worth up to $250 million a year. Arriving in ragtag border towns like Reynosa, Mexico’s migrant kidnapping capital where police in armored vehicles patrol the streets and daytime shootouts are commonplace, migrants are picked off buses by gangs who federal authorities say are in cahoots with local officials. They are then held captive in small houses packed with dozens of fellow migrants, where they are ransomed for up to $5,000 a head. Women who cannot pay face rape, while men risk beatings and conscription into gang ranks, police say.

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Mexico: 2 burned bodies found in congressman’s SUV

September 24, 2014

09/23/14 The Washington Post 

jaliscoTwo charred bodies were discovered Tuesday inside a burned-out vehicle in which a congressman and his driver were kidnapped at gunpoint the previous day, Mexican authorities said. Zacatecas state prosecutor Arturo Nahle said that although the vehicle was completely burned, the license plates left “no doubt” that it was the congressman’s SUV. He said DNA testing was being done on the remains to determine whether they belonged to Gabriel Gomez Michel, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and his driver.

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Tourist town in central Mexico plagued by kidnappings, officials say

August 20, 2014

08/19/14 Fox News Latino

valle del bravoAt least seven people have been kidnapped in Valle de Bravo, a popular tourist town in central Mexico, with three of the victims already released, state officials said Tuesday.

Three kidnappings have been reported in recent days, Mexico state Government Secretary Jose Manzur said.

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Kidnappings in Mexico surge to the highest number on record

August 18, 2014

08/15/14 The Washington Post

censorshipThe first time, after the men with police badges had lashed Adriana Carrillo’s wrists and ankles with tape, and she had spent 37 hours in the back of a Nissan, her father tossed the $12,000 ransom in a black satchel over a graffiti-strewn brick wall and brought her nightmare to its conclusion. She took three days off and then went back to work.

“I don’t want to live as a victim,” she said.

Carrillo returned to the cash register of the family store, where she had worked since she was 8 with her parents and six sisters, amid the floor-to-ceiling jumble of marshmallows and mixed nuts and pinwheel pasta and Styrofoam cups. Their business — cash-based, working-class, on the outskirts of Mexico City — happened to put them squarely into the demographic most vulnerable to Mexico’s kidnapping epidemic. And on May 28, 2013, less than two years later, a white sedan pulled up alongside Carrillo’s car as she drove home late from the market. When she saw the guns, she covered her face with her hands.

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Mexico at Peace: An Incomplete Approach

June 4, 2014

Washington Office on Latin America, 06/02/14

machine gun“Mexico has suffered from high levels of violence in recent years… Since taking office, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto committed to adopting a new strategy called ‘Mexico at Peace.’

In Mexico at Peace: An Incomplete Approach, researchers Alejandro Hope and Angela Guerrero analyze the results from the new program.”

 


Mexico doubles prison sentences for kidnapping

June 4, 2014

BBC, 06/04/14

hands in handcuffsMexico has published new sentencing guidelines that will double prison sentences for kidnapping. The minimum prison term has risen from 20 to 40 years.

It will apply for all abductions, including those that last only a few hours or days, so-called “express kidnappings”. The maximum prison sentence will rise from 50 to 140 years for those who kill their victims.

Kidnappings committed by a public security official, such as a member of the police or military, will be punished with up to 100 years in prison. Kidnappers will also have to pay heavy fines.

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Hunger for drugs brings torture and death to Mexico City

November 12, 2013

mexican drugsAl Jazeera, 11/12/2013

A silver sedan sits in front of Bar Heaven in the Zona Rosa here, the nightclub district that serves the rich locals and foreign tourists. Inside is an investigator from the attorney general’s office, asleep with a clipboard on his chest. It’s not clear why he’s there, since the club has long been shuttered with police tape, the walls covered with memorial photos of the 13 young people who were abducted there five months ago, their decapitated remains found later in a grave some 30 miles away.

“Confidential,” the investigator growled when asked why his presence was required at the spot, which now serves as a landmark for the sadism and kidnappings that have long been associated with other areas. Drug-related violence that has claimed perhaps 70,000 lives nationwide over seven years has now arrived 15 minutes from the seat of the federal government.

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