Nine suspected kidnappers, including a minor, were arrested and four captives rescued during an army operation in Coatzacoalcos, a port city in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz, the Defense Secretariat said Tuesday.
The operation, which was mounted on Monday, also resulted in the seizure of five firearms, including four rifles, ammunition, radio gear, a small quantity of cash and a “wooden board with the initial ‘Z’ on it,” the secretariat said.
Officials did not identify the organization that the six men and three women arrested in the operation belonged to.
The suspects, however, may belong to Los Zetas, a gang whose members wear uniforms and carry weapons with the letter “Z” on them.
“The suspects and the property seized were turned over to the corresponding authorities, who took statements from the four people freed” in the operation, the secretariat said.
President Felipe Calderon has identified kidnapping on numerous occasions as one of the msot serious crimes plaguing Mexican society.
The president has vowed publicly to fight kidnapping as part of his comprehensive strategy for taking on Mexico’s organized crime groups.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.