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Mexico: Military Personnel Search for 20 Tourists Kidnapped by Commandos in Acapulco

By Dialogo
October 05, 2010

Military personnel carried out patrols and inspections in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco (in the southern part of the country) on October 3, in search of twenty tourists from the state of Michoacán (in eastern Mexico) who were kidnapped by a group of armed commandos, an AFP reporter confirmed.

The presence of elements of the Mexican army in Acapulco was increased beginning on the afternoon of October 2, when uniformed personnel searched at least two residences in working-class areas of the beach resort.

Questioned by AFP about the object of the patrols and the residential searches, a soldier answered only that they were investigating “tips.”

The twenty tourists, workers from a mechanic’s shop, were kidnapped by a group of armed commandos as they arrived in the port of Acapulco in private vehicles to spend the weekend, the Guerrero state public prosecutor’s office confirmed.

The vehicles in which the tourists were traveling “were located on [October 2], without bloodstains or traces of violence being observed,” a source from the public prosecutor’s office in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, told AFP.

According to the local press, the kidnappers were around thirty men who intercepted the tourists when they stopped to buy provisions in a residential area of Acapulco.

They forced the tourists “to stand with their faces against the wall, hit them, subdued them, and carried them off,” the broadcaster Formato 21 reported, citing sources in the public prosecutor’s office.

Guerrero and Michoacán are areas where the La Familia drug cartel is active, one of seven criminal groups identified in Mexico and considered one of the most bloody, described by the United States as a “sophisticated criminal organization” specialized in the production and trafficking of amphetamines.

Mexico has recorded at least 28,000 deaths in episodes tied to organized crime since President Felipe Calderón launched an operation with more than 50,000 military personnel upon taking office in December 2006.