Mexican police in the border state of Tamaulipas have arrested two US citizens and freed a third who the detainees had allegedly kidnapped on US soil.
Local media, citing government sources, said the victim was a 28-year-old Texas man who told police he had been abducted on May 12 in McAllen and taken over the border into the Mexican city of Reynosa.
The victim was then reportedly moved about 55 miles east along the border and kept in a safe house near the city of Matamoros, located just across the border from the Texan city of Brownsville, while his kidnappers demanded a ransom from his family.
There was no information available on the size of the ransom demand or whether any payments were made before the suspects — named as Jordi Gonzalez and Jose Castillo — were arrested at a Mexican federal police road checkpoint while they were driving a vehicle with the victim in the trunk. Both detainees were also said to be from Texas; Gonzalez from Hidalgo, and Castillo from Brownsville.
Tamaulipas has long been one of the Mexican states most impacted by the violence of the country's drug wars, and the tight control some drug cartels exert over the civilian populations in their bastions.
It is currently said to be dominated by different factions of the Gulf cartel, with some remnants of the much diminished but still infamous Zetas cartel.
The US State Department has issued numerous travel warnings in recent years that have called on citizens to limit travel to the state because of both the pervasive violence and the limited effectiveness of the police.
"The number of reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico," the latest warning said in April this year. "State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited to nonexistent in many parts of Tamaulipas"
There have been several previous cases of US citizens being targeted in the state.
Three were rescued earlier this month after a three-week kidnapping ordeal. They were abducted while traveling on the main highway that connects the cities of Ciudad Victoria and Tampico, one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Mexico, according to the State Department.
This week's case stands out because the kidnapping took place on the US side of the border, although it is also reportedly not the first of its kind. According to Breitbart News, another US citizen was kidnaped in Sullivan, Texas, last August and rescued by the Mexican police in Reynosa one month later.
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