Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cartels' hands seen in border abductions

More background on the most recent kidnappings.

Kidnappings long have plagued Mexican border cities, but the Piña and Lopez abductions didn't seem to fit the usual victim profiles.

Until recently, the majority of those kidnapped were young, usually between 18 and 25, and most were believed to have been linked or associated with the drug trade.

In contrast, Piña and the Lopez brothers were middle-age business owners with no known illicit trafficking links.

Sadly, as expected, the cancer is spreading to Texas.

"We're fearing this could be a trend in the future," a U.S. federal agent said. "We've already got both hands tied behind our back in dealing in these matters because of the ineffectiveness and impotency of the Mexican government."

Mexican authorities cooperate with the United States in a number of law enforcement areas, but when it comes to anything cartel-related, as in the Piña case, Mexican assistance is non-existent, agents said.

"The police there are of no confidence, and the military cannot control the area. It's wide open" for cartel operations, an official from another U.S. agency said.

Mexican and U.S. businessmen, and even those who travel for recreation, such as hunters, should be aware of the risks, authorities said. Metro | State


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