9 Arrests In Mexican Kidnap Ring With Alleged Ties To Drug Cartel

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) - Nine people have been arrested in connection with a kidnapping ring that Mexican police believe is tied to the Arellano Felix drug cartel.

Baja California Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez announced the arrests late Thursday. He said the suspects were involved in kidnapping seven people for ransoms that ranged from $100,000 to $300,000. Six were released and one was killed.

The group is suspected of kidnapping two female real estate agents in January. The women, who both hold U.S. and Mexican citizenship, were selling coastal properties in Tijuana and Rosarito Beach. They were rescued in Tijuana on Jan. 30 by members of Baja California's anti-kidnapping squad.

Another kidnapping victim, a 24-year-old business owner and mother of three, was rescued Wednesday. She was kidnapped Feb. 24 from her house, and her captors had demanded a ransom of $250,000.

The cartel emerged as a drug trafficking powerhouse in the 1980s in Tijuana, but has branched out into other crimes, including kidnapping, immigrant smuggling and vehicle theft, Moreno said.
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Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune,
http://www.signonsandiego.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-15-08 1316EDT


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