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Recent kidnapping of seven year old U.S. citizen in Mexico, linked to the Los Zetas drug cartel

September 27, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Recent kidnapping of  seven year old U.S. citizen in Mexico, linked to the Los Zetas drug cartel

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The abduction of a 7-year-old U.S. citizen, by three armed men in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, which set off a large-scale rescue operation, was reportedly linked to the Los Zetas drug cartel, authorities in Mexico say.

The search was carried out by Mexican local and state law enforcement officials who collaborated with the FBI and U.S. Embassy officials. The child was later discovered unharmed.

Patricia Renteria-Martinez, the child’s mother, informed officials with the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office that she was on her way to a local elementary school in El Carmen. A Jeep cut her off on her way to the school, and three men dressed in all black, at least one of whom was carrying a gun, jumped out of the vehicle. The kidnappers grabbed the child and fled.

The distraught 34-year-old mother stated that she began pleading for help and contacted the police while her two daughters remained inside of her SUV, Breitbart Texas reported.

Renteria received a call just moments after the kidnapping from someone identifying himself as a Los Zetas drug cartel member from another state. The abductor requested an unspecified large amount of money. Authorities did not disclose the cartel that the kidnapper worked for.

The abduction of the young child initiated a massive search operation where even Roberto Flores, the Nuevo León Attorney General, and the Public Safety Secretary Cuahutemoc Antunez became involved. The two public officials had not been seen outside of their office in the past few weeks despite the fact that the state has witnessed a surge of armed robberies and executions.

Flores reported that agents with the Fuerza Civil state police, in conjunction with local police, launched a search and rescue operation. Upon learning that the child was a U.S. native, they immediately called the FBI and the United States Embassy.

Flores verified that about six hours after the incident, the offender dropped the child off unharmed at a shopping mall in the town of Salinas Victoria. A group of police officers recognized the boy and transported him to a local state-run shelter.

Authorities learned that the child’s mother spent three years behind bars and has a criminal history stemming from 2014 and has been charged with organized crime activity. The mother was apprehended with drugs and money along with her husband, a ruthless boss for the Los Zetas drug cartel whose influence increased in recent years after an audacious prison break in Apodaca.

Law enforcement sources named the child’s stepfather and the woman’s current husband as Jose Isidro “El Pichilo” Cruz Villarreal.

El Pichilo served as the regional leader of the Los Zetas across seven municipalities in Nuevo Leon. Cruz Villarreal is currently behind bars for his role in an alleged case even though he had first been accused of planning the murders of 17 members of a musical group named “Kombo Kolombia.”

Law enforcement officials currently believe that the kidnapping was an act of retaliation or some other issue tied to drug trafficking.

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