A French citizen who lives in the United States disappeared two weeks ago in Michoacan, a state in western Mexico that has been rocked by clashes between vigilantes and drug traffickers, media reports said Sunday.
Harry Devert disappeared while traveling from the United States to Brazil by motorcycle.
The 32-year-old Frenchman has not been heard from since Jan. 25, when his girlfriend, Sarah, received a text message from Devert saying that he had been “escorted” for 90 minutes through an area “that was too dangerous for me,” his family said on the Facebook page created to find him.
“Apparently, there is another military escort waiting for me in another city ... I am being delayed by all these crazy things of the soldiers ... I hope to have a chance to speak with you guys tonight when (with luck), I finally get there,” Devert said in his text message.
The Frenchman, who is traveling on a green Kawasaki motorcycle, had visited a monarch butterfly reserve in Macheros, a city in Mexico state, and was heading to Zihuatanejo, where he planned to visit the beach where the final scene in the “Shawshank Redemption” was filmed.
The U.S. Embassy is working with Mexican officials to find the traveler, the family said, adding that the French Embassy was also involved since Devert was a French national.
Civilians began arming themselves last year to fight the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel, which operates across Michoacan.
Los Caballeros Templarios, a gang founded in December 2010 by former members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, deals in both synthetic and natural drugs.
The gang commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies.
The cartel uses Michoacan’s 270 kilometers (168 miles) of coastline to smuggle chemical drug precursors for the production of synthetic drugs into Mexico.
The federal government deployed soldiers and police in Michoacan on Jan. 13 in an effort to end the wave of violence in the state.