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Report: Local police sold 3 missing Italian citizens to drug cartel for $53

February 27, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Report: Local police sold 3 missing Italian citizens to drug cartel for $53

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The son of one of the three missing  Italian nationals who disappeared in Jalisco, Mexico last month said local municipal police officers sold his relatives to a drug cartel for 1,000 pesos which equates to $53 dollars US.

The claim was made over the weekend by Francesco Russo, the son of one of Raffaele Russo, 60, who went missing on January 31st along with his son Antonio Russo, 25, and nephew Vincenzo Cimmino, 29.

The three missing Italian nationals were last seen in the municipality of Tecalitlán, Jalisco and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Mexican authorities have since arrested four municipal police officers, three men and one woman in connection with the disappearance of the Italian citizens.

The state’s attorney general, Raúl Sánchez Jiménez, said the four municipal police officers worked in coordination with an organized crime cartel that operates south of the state to deliver the victims.

The agents charged with the forced abductions are identified as Emilio “N”, Salomón “N”, Fernando “N” and Lidia “N”, face 40 to 60 years in prison if convicted, according to Proceso.

“It’s something monstrous and outrageous,” Raffaele Russo’s son Francisco said during an interview with Italian media outlet RAI1.

He also reiterated that the three men, all natives of Naples, Italy, were not part of organized crime, as are those responsible for kidnapping his relatives, who “are criminals, not my brother, or my father, or my cousin.”

Additionally, Russo dismissed claims his father used false documents during his stay in Mexico and emphasized that the three Neapolitans were in that country to sell electric generators.

Mexican authorities asked the Italian Foreign Ministry for a criminal background check on the three missing men and the other three Italians who traveled to the country with them.

According to Reuters, an Italian national tied to the missing men was arrested last week in the neighboring Guanajuato state for selling similar products,

Additionally, Jiménez said Raffaele Russo had a criminal record in Italy stemming from a 2015 arrest for selling false goods in the southern state of Campeche.

“Our relatives were sold for €43 to a criminal gang, a little more than €14 ($17) a person… We are so angry. The Italian authorities should try and find out what happened. We are hoping they are still alive,” Gino Bergami, the Russo family’s spokesperson told Italian news agency Ansa Sunday.

The case has generated outrage in Italy, where protest marches have been organized to demand the safe return of the Italian citizens.

Mexican officials said investigations are ongoing, with police undergoing additional training and deploying sniffer dogs to help locate the men.

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