December 5, 2012
InSight Crime, 11/26/2012
According to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) — the only Mexican government entity that has released data on kidnappings of migrants — 9,758 migrants were kidnapped in 33 different “events” between September 2008 and February 2009.1 In a 2011 study the CNDH estimated that 11,333 migrants were kidnapped between April and September of 2010 in 214 different events.2 Extrapolating the CNDH’s 2011 findings suggests that around 20,000 migrants are kidnapped per year in Mexico.
July 5, 2012
Fox News Latino/The Associated Press, 07/05/2012
Mexico’s next president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has not detailed his drug war strategy but has promised to halve the number of kidnappings and murders during his six-year term by moving law enforcement away from showy drug busts and focusing on protecting ordinary citizens from gangs.
Many analysts wonder if Peña Nieto is holding back politically sensitive details of his plans, or simply doesn’t know yet how he’ll be prosecute the next stage of Mexico’s drug war.
August 22, 2011
InSight Crime, 8/22/11
According to El Universal, the kidnapping reportedly took place August 19 on a southwestern highway, where 500 police officers have been deployed as part of a security surge in Guerrero. The body of Jose Eduviges Nava Altamirano, mayor of Zacualpan, was discovered late Saturday afternoon. According to the police report he was beaten to death.
Thirteen mayors were targeted and killed by criminal gangs in 2010, in a wave of violence taken as evidence that Mexico’s gangs are prepared to intimidate and kill in order to keep municipal authorities in line. Because mayors are in charge of determining security policy on a local level — including appointing police chiefs — they are seen as key assets to criminal organizations looking to control police activity in their territory.
August 22, 2011
InSight Crime, 8/22/11
The National Foundation for Investigations into Stolen and Disappeared Children (Fundacion Nacional de Investigaciones de Niños Robados y Desaparecidos) says that an average of 41 children a day have been reported missing over the past five years. Only one in 10 cases handled by the foundation end with the child being rescued, the organization’s spokeswoman said. According to data from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, 30,000 of the 75,000 children reported missing have been rescued.
According to a report prepared last year for the United Nations, up to 35,000 minors have been recruited by drug trafficking gangs since 2006. Under Mexican law, minors cannot serve prison sentences longer than three years, which may explain why some gangs have turned to recruiting teen hitmen, including 14-year-old Edgar Jimenez, alias “El Ponchis,” a U.S. citizen charged with kidnapping and homicide in July.
August 21, 2011
The Washington Post, 8/21/11
Of all the strange circumstances surrounding the violent abduction last year of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the Mexican power broker and former presidential candidate known here as “Boss Diego,” perhaps nothing was weirder than the mysterious tracking chip that the kidnappers allegedly cut from his body.
Lurid Mexican media accounts reported that an armed gang invaded Fernandez’s home, sliced open his arm with a pair of scissors and extracted a satellite-enabled tracking device, leaving the chip and a streak of blood behind.
August 3, 2011
The Los Angeles Times, 8/3/11
All nine polling workers who had vanished while taking surveys in a violent slice of western Mexico have been freed, their employers and Mexican authorities said Wednesday morning.
Roy Campos, director of the Consulta Mitofsky polling firm, said via Twitter early this morning that six employees, missing since Saturday afternoon in the drug-plagued state of Michoacan, were “free.” He did not immediately say where the workers had been held or by whom.
Several hours later, Francisco Abundis, director of a separate firm, Parametria, said in a radio interview that three of his workers who vanished Monday also were “safe and sound” after being freed by unidentified captors. All nine pollsters were working near the farming city of Apatzingan, the site of past shootouts between drug-gang gunmen and Mexican forces.
December 13, 2010
Gancho Blog, 12/13/2010
One stat in the long Milenio Semanal piece on kidnapping that leaps out at me is that 52 percent of victims of the crime in Mexico are middle class or working class, rather than members of the economic elite. I think that this gets lost in a lot of stories that portray kidnapped people as scions of wealthy families; wealthy families are certainly obvious targets, but they are not the only ones being victimized. This is equally true with entrepreneurs and extortion; a lot of those being hit up are small-time shop owners, not major magnates. The article further estimates that the kidnapping industry is worth some $60 million annually, and that between 2 and 10 percent of the crimes are punished, which is why the death penalty alone won’t do a whole lot to address kidnapping.
This quote from Isabel Miranda de Wallace, the famous mother/investigator of kidnapping victim Hugo Wallace (who was subsequently killed), is also interesting:
Kidnapping bands have transformed themselves: now that activity has turned into a ‘family affair’. The father and oldest son abduct the victim, the mother feeds him, the children learn to live taking care of a person bound and gagged…
I’m not sure exactly what policy implications that shift toward familial kidnapping groups would have, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
October 6, 2010
Zemi Communications, 10/6/2010
Two specialists in kidnappings, Max Moralesand Jorge Carrillo Olea,analyzed in Reforma fifty of Mexico’s highest profile kidnappings since the 1970s. Of the 50 cases, only 17 resulted in the arrest of at least one of the kidnappers, and in only seven were the victims freed by action of the authorities. Two of these cases are still unresolved: Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who was kidnapped on May 14, 2010, and U.S. kidnap specialist Felix Batista, who has been missing since December 2008.
October 4, 2010
BBC News, 10/4/2010
Mexican security forces have stepped up their search for 20 men reportedly abducted by an armed gang in the resort city of Acapulco last week.
The men from the neighbouring state of Michoacan were seized while driving around in four vehicles as they looked for a hotel, local media reported.
Prosecutors have launched investigations into the kidnappings. Acapulco is popular with visitors but it is also the scene of a violent turf war between rival drug cartels.
April 21, 2010
New York Times, 4/21/2010
Armed men raided two hotels in the center of Monterrey, Mexico’s industrial capital, early Wednesday morning, hauling away four guests and as many as three staff members and sending a wave of panic across a city that has experienced a spate of violent episodes in recent weeks, the authorities said.
Dozens of gunmen were involved in the attacks, which occurred at 3 a.m. and were bold even by Mexican standards. They stormed through numerous rooms on the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn Centro, removing four guests but letting others go. The gunmen also abducted the hotel’s receptionist and clashed with a security guard outside the hotel, possibly taking him as well, the authorities said. A receptionist at the Misión Hotel across the street was also abducted, bringing the likely total number of missing people to seven, officials said.