Federal law enforcement officials are asking the public for any information on a former Marine who was kidnapped in Mexico last month
The FBI is investigating the kidnapping Armando Torres III in La Barranca, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on May 14, 2013, and is looking for any information that will help locate him or his kidnappers, FBI Special Agent in charge of the San Antonio Division of the FBI announced today.
FBI officials say Torres drove across the International Port of Entry Bridge at Progresso, Texas, to visit his father’s ranch when armed gunmen entered the premises and kidnapped him, along with his father and uncle, who are both Mexican citizens. The FBI says the men have not been seen or heard from since the incident, and that the bureau has opened up a concurrent international kidnapping investigation in addition to the Mexican criminal investigation.
Torres, who served in a combat zone during Operation Iraqi Freedom, is currently in the individual ready reserve.
A State Department official confirms that the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros is working with Mexican authorities on the case, but would not give further details citing privacy concerns
The public acknowledgment of this latest incident follows the high-profile case of an American mother of seven, Yanira Maldonado, who spent a week in a Mexican jail after being charged with attempting to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana under her seat while riding a bus from Mexico back to the United States.
Maldonado and her husband claimed they were set -up by corrupt police officers. A Mexican judge eventually freed Maldonado after a video showed she boarded the bus with only a medium-sized black purse and two bottles of water.
In another prominent case last month, Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of civil rights activist Malcolm X, was found beaten to death outside of a Mexico City night club after an argument over a bar bill. Two men have been arrested in his murder.
Mexico has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with the Mexican government estimating that nearly 50,000 people were murdered, primarily due to a bloody drug war in 2011.
While the State Department says that millions of Americans do visit Mexico every year without incident, it also warns on the country’s travel advisory page that “crime and violence, much of it fueled by transnational criminal activity, affect many parts of the country, including both urban and rural areas” and urges Americans to “remain alert and be aware of their surroundings at all times, particularly when visiting the border region.”