Photo: Missing in Mexico
Mexican police have rescued 70 captives and dismantled 14 gangs in the past three weeks, security officials said.
Police have arrested “57 individuals suspected of the crime of kidnapping” who will face “up to 60 years in prison” if convicted, Security Cabinet spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.
“In 20 days, in an effort coordinated by the government of the republic and state authorities, 14 criminal organizations have been dismantled,” Sanchez said.
Authorities “freed 70 kidnapping victims” in different cases, the Government Secretariat said in a Twitter posting.
Ten suspects linked to four kidnappings were arrested and a captive rescued in Tecamac, a city in Mexico state, the secretariat said.
Eight other people were arrested in Texcoco, another city in Mexico state, for the kidnapping of a 22-year-old man and their suspected involvement in at least nine other cases, the secretariat said.
The young man being held by the kidnappers was rescued.
Mexico state surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.
Police in Lagos Moreno, a city in the western state of Jalisco, rescued a woman who was being taken “tied up and gagged in a vehicle,” the secretariat said.
Kidnapping has become a widespread problem in Mexico in recent years, with gangs of different levels of sophistication targeting victims from various strata of society.
Congress approved legislation in October 2010 that stiffened the penalties for kidnappers from 25 to 45 years behind bars when the victims are mutilated or if the criminals are retired or active-duty police officers, and from 40 to 70 years in prison if the victims are killed.
President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has made fighting kidnapping a priority.