Monday, December 18, 2006

Drug cartels turn to kidnapping in South Texas

According to this story it is now just a likely that small businessmen will be kidnapped in Texas as in Mexico.

The surge in kidnappings has taken many Valley residents by surprise, the sheriff said.

''In Mexico, ransom kidnappings are a way of life. Over here it's an anomaly," he said.

Local and federal officials suspect that many of the abductions on the U.S. side of the border aren't reported. Victims and their families often fear retribution from the violent gangs believed to be responsible.

''In the majority of the kidnappings, there is a drug nexus or a connection to a human trafficking organization," said TreviƱo. ''This stranger-on-strang- er stuff, that's a rarity."

While officials in South Texas work to bring an end to the kidnappings, Mexican authorities are dealing with problems of their own.

The Matamoros-based Gulf Cartel and other drug gangs have branched out into the kidnapping-for-ransom business, U.S. law enforcement agents say.

''The Gulf Cartel has lost a great deal of money recently from interdicted drug shipments and has turned to kidnapping to recoup their losses," according to a U.S. intelligence report, which said 57 businessmen had been abducted recently in northern Mexico.

Drug cartels turn to kidnapping in South Texas | - Houston Chronicle


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