The Attorney General’s Office for the Mexican border state of Sonora confirmed for the first time that an investigation is underway in the kidnapping of six victims which occurred on December 26, 2018.
Local media reported the kidnapping of the six victims which occurred on December 26 in the area of El Central Camionera in colonia Sochiloa. The kidnapping was captured by security cameras and the video had been circulating on social media this week. Circumstances surrounding the kidnapping remained a mystery as there had been no official word from government officials as to the status of the victims or their identity.
The colonia of Sochiloa is located in Ciudad Obregon, in the municipality of Cajeme which is approximately 330 miles south of the Arizona border.
Security camera footage captured the moment when a team of seven or eight gunmen armed with rifles arrived in two vehicles and appeared to kidnap the six victims consisting of three males and three females who had been sitting in two separate parked vehicles. The first group of kidnappers arrived in a white pickup and immediately exited and charged at the parked vehicles with rifles drawn. A second vehicle, a grey colored sedan with a second team of kidnappers, pulls up from the opposite direction and blocks one of the vehicles in which some of the victims were riding.
The second group of kidnappers then exits and charges the parked target vehicles. The gunmen forcibly remove the victims while holding rifles on them. The six victims are then forced into the kidnappers’ two vehicles and they speed away. The kidnappers completed their operation in about 50 seconds in broad daylight.
A representative of the state attorney general’s office said that the three women were released, but so far, the three male victims — ages 67, 42, and 21 — have not and their whereabouts are unknown. The state prosecutor’s office assured the public in the press statement that the investigation is ongoing, and no resources would be spared during their search for the victims. All three of the male victims are related.
It should be noted that it is not unusual for kidnapping investigators to not release information during an active investigation or to confirm that one has actually occurred mainly for the safety of the victims. In many instances, kidnappers will threaten the family of a kidnap victim that if they notify the police it will result in the death of their loved ones.
The area around Ciudad Obregon has witnessed an uptick in cartel-related violence as reported by Breitbart News including the shocking murder of a young couple who were gunned down on Christmas Eve in the crowded parking lot of Walmart by a group of cartel gunmen armed with AK-47. The gunmen fired more than 150 rounds at the victims. The municipality of Cajeme reported at least 16 murders during the first 15 days of 2019.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)