Mayor Benito Caballero of Apodaca, Nuevo León
The police chief of Apodaca, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and 10 of his bodyguards were kidnapped over the weekend by gunmen, officials said.
“We have 11 people missing in the city of Apodaca,” including police chief Milton Alvarado Rojas, Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz said in a press conference on Monday.
“We have a verbal report that was filed last Saturday. We are conducting an investigation,” the governor said, adding that he could not reveal any other information about the investigation.
Three officers who served as bodyguards for Alvarado Rojas were kidnapped last Thursday, officials in Apodaca, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area, told Efe.
One of the officers later called the chief and asked him to negotiate his release with an organized crime group at an address in the neighboring city of Juarez.
Alvarado Rojas went to the address on Saturday with seven other bodyguards to rescue the kidnapped officers and the group has been missing since then.
The latest kidnappings bring to 18 the number of police officers abducted this year in the Monterrey metro area by drug cartels.
Seven state police officers were kidnapped on March 12 in Guadalupe, another suburb of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon.
Nuevo Leon and neighboring Tamaulipas state have been rocked by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.