Skip to comments.(South Texas:)FBI reports abduction spike for Hidalgo, Starr counties
Posted on 05/01/2010 9:58:21 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
McALLEN Kidnapping cases in Hidalgo and Starr counties nearly quadrupled in 2009 from the year before, FBI officials said Friday.
In all, 42 people were abducted from the area during the fiscal year that ended September 31 more than in 2008 and 15 more than the FBI investigated in Laredo during the height of a 2005 war between two sparring drug cartels.
Much of that increase can be attributed to drug-related activity and a late 2008 kidnapping campaign organized to expand the Zetas influence in the Rio Grande Valley, said Jorge Cisneros, spokesman for the bureaus McAllen office.
You crack down on the illegal drug smuggling, human trafficking and bulk cash shipments and the (drug cartels) have to get more aggressive in protecting their money, he said.
Of the 42 kidnapping victims reported, nearly all survived and were later released. However, 16 remain missing, according to bureau statistics.
While 98 percent of the cases involved targets with ties to drug smuggling, the list does include some cases of random attacks, Cisneros said.
FBI officials worked with a cadre of local law enforcement departments in May to rescue a 4-year-old Hidalgo girl after a former carnival worker and convicted sex offender allegedly took her from outside her Las Milpas home. Investigators found her a day after her kidnapping bound and abused at an abandoned farmhouse outside of Mercedes.
Just a year before, at least seven men abducted a McAllen muffler shop owner as he was closing down his north-side business because they suspected he would be carrying a load of cash.
McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said in February 2008 that there was no evidence to suggest that the business owner, who was released in exchange for a $125,000 ransom, had any connection to the drug trade.
But the vast majority of kidnapping cases go unreported, John Johnson, head of the McAllen FBI office, told a panel of state lawmakers at a hearing on border violence Thursday. He estimated that 90 percent of the time families of victims fail to contact police for fear that their relative will be killed.
Some of these victims, no one is lining up or knocking on the door to find them, he said.
Federal prosecutors have linked five Hidalgo County kidnapping cases during fall 2008 to a Zeta kidnapping ring that targeted local drug dealers in a bid to pressure them into paying taxes to the drug cartel. However, the group is suspected of carrying out several more abductions than those listed in a federal indictment handed down last year.
At least one of those cases ended with the murder of Weslaco drug dealer Daniel Ramirez Jr. after his family called in the FBI to help. Zeta rules require an abduction victim to be killed once the family involves the authorities, a member of the group testified at a trial earlier this year for one of his co-defendants. The man told jurors that Ramirez was placed in a barrel on rural Mexican ranch and cooked. His remains have never been found.
That threat of provoking violent attackers prompted Patricia Martinez, of Pharr, to keep quiet after gunmen took her 20-year-old son and ex-husband from a Reynosa restaurant in May 2008.
But after a year with no contact from his abductors and mounting fears that her son might be dead, she pleaded with lawmakers at Thursdays legislative hearing to take up the investigation.
Im still hoping my son is alive and I will see him very soon, she said. If hes still out there, I have to do something.
....that’s the Rio Grande Valley for you!
get use to it
It’s time to bring the Vigilance Committees back.
ya and my cousin says they eat their women when they are findhished with them...
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Phoenix has an even higher rate of kidnappings. This is one of the reasons they passed the new bill on limiting illegal immigration.
Border violence slopping over into border states.