Photo: Mexican police
Mexican federal police rescued 10 kidnap victims in the northern city of Saltillo and arrested five suspected members of a cell of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel, including a minor, officials said.
The federal Public Safety Secretariat said in a statement Friday that the victims were freed from a house in the Coahuila state capital thanks to intelligence work.
Federal police lay siege to the property, where several individuals carrying weapons and wearing bullet-proof vests had been spotted getting out of a vehicle, the secretariat said.
The suspects tried to hide inside the residence but were eventually arrested by the officers, who found 10 people inside the home who said they had been abducted several days earlier.
The kidnap victims, who were being held in unsanitary conditions and had their faces covered, were found inside and were taken to a hospital for medical care, the statement said.
The detainees were listed as four adults between the ages of 21 and 54 and a minor aged 16.
According to authorities, the suspected kidnappers were working for the Zetas crime syndicate.
In the operation, the police confiscated several rifles, ammunition clips, bullet-proof vests, two grenades, more than 400 rounds of ammunition and a stolen vehicle.
Los Zetas, a group founded by deserters from a U.S.-trained Mexican special forces unit, started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two criminal organizations had a falling out in 2010 and the Zetas went into the drug business on their own account, gaining control of several lucrative territories.
Even in the violent world of Mexican organized crime, the Zetas stand out for their propensity to dismember the bodies of their victims.
Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded into kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other criminal enterprises in recent years.