MCALLEN, Texas — Almost 200 Americans have been kidnapped in Mexico this past year; 79 of those kidnappings took place just south of the Texas border in the Mexican State of Tamaulipas, according to an FBI interview with Breitbart Texas.
While the Mexican government continues to praise their security campaign in Tamaulipas, shootouts, kidnappings, extortions and highway robberies continue to plague the border state.
In Mexico a person is kidnapped every six hours, according to the statistics published by Mexico’s National Citizens Observatory, a non-profit organization that keeps track of crime figures.
Breitbart Texas met with FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee who spoke about the number of kidnappings in Mexico that the agency has investigated in 2014. While in 2006, the agency only had 26 kidnappings, so far this year the agency has looked into 199 kidnappings.
“Kidnapping for ransom remains a very rare occurrence in the United States,” Lee said.
However in Mexico, kidnapping has become a moneymaker for criminals looking to make a quick profit.
“In about fifty percent of all the kidnappings of U.S. citizens in Mexico a ransom demand is made,” Lee said. “In those instances a financial gain is generally the motive and typically it is a crime of opportunity.”
The agent advises to avoid displaying cash or other items that could make a victim attractive to kidnappers.
Currently the U.S. Department of State has a standing travel advisory warning Americans about the security conditions in Mexico and warns them about traveling on highways at night and of the potential dangers in each state.
The FBI has a strong working relationship with Mexican federal authorities including an elite anti-kidnapping unit that has allowed the agency to solve the majority of the kidnappings in Mexico, she said.
In the other fifty percent of crimes where a ransom call is not made there is some connection with organized crime.
“In those cases you may have the victim involved in illicit activity, or the victim being related to someone who is involved or in some cases it may be a case of mistaken identity where the person targeted was in fact tied to criminal activity,” Lee said.
Regardless of the ties, the agency investigates all cases accordingly with the victim’s safety as their highest priority, she said.