Update: The Mexican Navy clarifiied the nationalities of the kidnapping victims: 14 Mexicans, 2 Guatemalans and 1 Honduran.
The Mexican Navy is reporting the rescue of 17 kidnapping victims in Matamoros.
Mexican Navy officials reported the 17 victims were rescued from two safe houses on Monday.
The Mexican Navy reported that they received information about one of the safe houses and went to investigation.
Authorities found 11 people, 10.87 pounds of marijuana and rifle inside the home.
Investigators charged Juan Ponce-Ramirez as being the caretaker of the safe house.
The Mexican Navy reported that the incident lead them to another home where six other alleged kidnapping victims were located.
Authorities said the kidnapping victims had all been held for ransom with their alleged kidnappers demanding money from relatives via telephone.
The Mexican Navy did not release the names of the kidnapping victims but initally reported the majority of them "had homes in the United States."
Authorities later clarified that 14 of the kidnapping victims are Mexican nationals, two are from Guatemala and one is from Honduras.
Jorge Cisneros with the FBI in McAllen said the FBI is aware of the rescue.
Exact figures were not available but Cisneros said the FBI in McAllen has several cases regarding missing individuals.
Cisneros said the FBI is formally requesting information about the victims in the Matamoros case from the Mexican government.
Source: Valle Central
Matamoros operation leads to rescue of 17 people
Mexican authorities announced the successful rescue of 17 kidnapping victims — who have family in the United States — from two houses in Matamoros.
According to a press release by the Mexican navy, on Monday morning, marines rescued the victims and also arrested a man accused of guarding one of the two houses, both in the Puerto Rico neighborhood. The operation also resulted in the seizure of approximately 11 pounds of marijuana, as well as an AK-47 assault rifle.
Juan Ponce Ramirez, the alleged guard of the stash house, was turned over to Mexico’s attorney general’s office for further investigation and prosecution, the release stated.
Details of the operation or the block address of the houses were not disclosed by the navy.
The marines arrived at one of the houses, after an intelligence gathering operation by the Mexican navy confirmed that a house in Matamoros was being used as a stash house for a criminal organization and that kidnapping victims were being kept there, the release stated.
When the marines raided the house, they fought with and later arrested Ponce and in the process rescued 11 individuals who stated they were being held for ransom, the navy said.
After the raid on the first house, the marines received information that six other kidnapping victims were being held in a nearby house and rescued them as well.
The majority of the victims have relatives in the U.S. who were being extorted through telephone calls, the release states.
"According to our initial reports, the family members of the kidnapping victims deposited various amounts of money in order to ensure their well-being and what they hoped would be their future release," navy officials said.
As of press time Tuesday night, it couldn’t be officially confirmed if the stash house belonged to the Zeta criminal organization or to the Gulf Cartel.
Source: The Brownville Herald