Baja News Wire Latest News from Baja California, Mexico

Old 09-30-09, 10:17 PM   #1
Noticias's Avatar
Join Date: 07-13-09
Posts: 2,515

Noticias is on a distinguished road

Post Victim's dad: Drug war distracts from kidnapping (AP)

AP - A former Mexican sports commissioner whose daughter was killed by her abductors criticized the government Wednesday for failing to combat crimes like kidnapping as aggressively as it fights drug trafficking.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of federal troops and police across the country seeking to crush drug cartels.

But local and state police handling other crimes remain corrupt and inept, despite repeated government efforts to clean them up, said former National Sports Commissioner Nelson Vargas, whose 19-year-old daughter, Silvia, was found dead last December, more than a year after she was kidnapped on her way to school.

"I think the only thing that they are working on intensely is combatting drug trafficking," Vargas said at a news conference during a government-sponsored forum on kidnapping.

The Vargas abduction was among several prominent cases that provoked huge street protests last year against crime in Mexico, which has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates. Since then, kidnappings have only surged, despite government promises to clean up police and create more specialized anti-kidnapping forces.

Mexico's first lady, Margarita Zavala, said the forum was part of government efforts to give kidnapping victims a voice in the fight against crime.

Vargas urged Mexicans to speak out more against crime and corruption.

"How often do we know of corrupt and criminal neighbors but out of fear we do not denounce them?" he said.

The government acknowledges that most kidnappings — and many other crimes — go unreported because Mexicans either fear police involvement or have little faith that authorities will investigate.

Vargas himself has frequently accused police of mishandling the investigation into his daughter's kidnapping. The family went public with her disappearance after a year, expressing frustration that police had failed to find her. A few months later, Silvia's body was found in a clandestine grave.

Vargas questioned whether police would have ever found Silvia if she had not been from a prominent family.

"I put myself in the shoes of the poor, the humble, all those who are not heard by authorities and suffer just the same from kidnapping and homicides," he said.

Investigators have since arrested most of the members of "The Reds" gang on suspicion of kidnapping Silvia Vargas. But her father angrily noted the gang was suspected of kidnapping people for years before authorities managed to dismantle it.

Luis Cardenas, intelligence coordinator for the Federal Police, defended the investigation into the Reds, saying such cases are complicated. He said police spent three years watching a relative of one of the gang's members before it was able to round up the suspects.

"Investigations into kidnappings are not resolved just out of will, they are not resolved just because someone says one day, 'I promise that tomorrow we will solve the case'," Cardenas said, according to the Notimex news agency.

The Mexican government says there have been about 97 kidnappings reported each month this year, a jump from about 70 a month last year. The nonprofit Citizens' Institute for Crime Studies estimates the real rate is closer to 500 a month.


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Captain arrested after ship capsize, victim's kin says Noticias Baja News Wire 6 07-08-11 12:48 PM
Kidnapping in Tijuana: The New Normal Noticias Baja News Wire 0 05-31-11 04:59 PM
Mexico arrests 2 for allegedly kidnapping American (AP) Noticias Baja News Wire 1 08-29-09 08:18 PM
Mexican arrests 2 in teen's kidnapping, murder (AP) Noticias Baja News Wire 1 07-17-09 01:56 PM