HomeNewsBriefMexico Police Kidnapping Operation Revealed
BRIEF

Mexico Police Kidnapping Operation Revealed

KIDNAPPING / 15 OCT 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Details have emerged about how a kidnapping gang formed mostly of police operated in the Mexican tourist city of Acapulco, illustrating the central role security forces often play in Mexico’s current kidnapping boom.

According to Mexico’s Attorney General, the group of 18 kidnappers included 13 federal police officers, who chose the victims and picked them up in their patrol cars, reported El Universal. The victims, typically local businessmen such as owners of motels, brothels or casinos, were taken to a safe house where they stayed for one to two months while a ransom was negotiated.

The gang demanded up to $230,000 for the hostages’ freedom, but ended up getting around $40,000, said El Universal. It was not enough to guarantee all their victims’ freedom — seven out of 14 people kidnapped during the band’s five months of operation were killed. Three secret graves were found near the safe house, with the remains of three people reported kidnapped.

Three of the surviving victims have identified the police involved, with one of them stating they were “taken and transported by an official patrol car.”

According to investigators, police approached a civilian named Jonathan Piedra Soberanis last April to propose the kidnapping alliance, offering him total impunity and good pay. Most of the police allegedly involved were of low-rank, with one middle-ranking official among those arrested.

InSight Crime Analysis

Kidnappings have risen significantly in Mexico in recent years, as traditional criminal organizations have fragmented. More factions fighting over the same profits means groups have to be resourceful and diversify their activities if they want to stay strong and maintain revenue streams.

In Mexico, as in other parts of Latin America, it is not just criminal organizations who engage in the practice — security forces are also major players. Police are ideally placed to carry out kidnappings given their knowledge of the crime, access to information about potential victims, and the power to prevent investigations being carried out. If not kidnapping directly, they can also help facilitate the crime for criminal associates.

In a report released earlier this year, US-based NGO Human Rights Watch documented widespread evidence of Mexican security forces collaborating with organized criminal groups to forcibly disappear people and extort ransom money. A poll of 232 jailed kidnappers carried out in 2011 by Mexican research center Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) found 20 percent had been or were still part of the security forces.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

MEXICO / 20 OCT 2017

A number of civil organizations in Mexico have introduced a new mobile phone application designed for citizens to report…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 24 JUL 2015

Several incidents in the last few weeks have raised additional doubts over how Mexico's soldiers are approaching the so-called "drug…

MEXICO / 6 JAN 2012

Public security is perennially one of the most pressing topics in Mexico, and there’s no more obvious a moment to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …