Alfredo Cruz Guzman, 18, found guilty of kidnapping and auto theft, was sentenced in accord with recent revisions to the state penal code.
He was a member of a recently dismantled kidnapping gang that operated in Ciudad Juarez, a violent metropolis just across the border from El Paso, Texas, the Chihuahua AG’s office said.
State Gov. Cesar Duarte hailed the harsh sentence, pointing out during a visit to Juarez that Cruz tortured and mutilated his captives.
“I want to make it clear that, even with the approval of the Federal Anti-kidnapping Law, the state is ready to exercise its sovereignty, enforce the law and the life sentence,” the Chihuahua governor said here Tuesday.
Duarte was referring to a vote last month in the Mexican Senate to establish a maximum prison term of 70 years for kidnappers who kill their captives.
Chihuahua accounts for more than a third of the 30,000-plus drug-war deaths reported in Mexico over the last four years, while Juarez is the country’s murder capital, with 3,100 homicides this year.
In October, the state legislature passed a bill mandating life in prison for kidnappers, extortionists, killers of journalists and police and multiple-murderers.
Like Spain and most other Latin American nations, Mexico has traditionally limited to 30 years the amount of time anyone can be held behind bars.