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Viewing cable 08MONTERREY232, KIDNAPPINGS RISE IN NUEVO LEON; FEDERAL FORCES DECREASING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MONTERREY232 2008-05-15 22:10 2011-02-10 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Monterrey
Appears in these articles:
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2011/02/10/index.php?section=politica&article=006n1pol
VZCZCXRO5618
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0232/01 1362228
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 152228Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2910
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 3877
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8362
154138
2008-05-15 22:28:00
08MONTERREY232
Consulate Monterrey
CONFIDENTIAL

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PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHMC #0232/01 1362228
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 152228Z MAY 08
FM AMCONSUL MONTERREY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2910
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 3877
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEHMC/AMCONSUL MONTERREY 8362

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTERREY 000232 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/15/2018 
TAGS: PGOV SNAR ASEC CASC ECON KCRM MX
SUBJECT: KIDNAPPINGS RISE IN NUEVO LEON; FEDERAL FORCES DECREASING 
PRESENCE 
 
MONTERREY 00000232  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Bruce Williamson, Consul General, Consulate 
General of Monterrey, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Kidnapping for ransom has come to Nuevo Leon. 
 Public authorities downplay the problem since few cases are 
reported to the police, but Post law enforcement officials are 
aware of at least four cases, with indications of many more. 
Although top state government officials have urged the public to 
report kidnappings, no complaint was lodged by the family when 
the brother in law of the Nuevo Leon Secretary of Public 
Security was kidnapped, but instead the family privately 
arranged for his release.  Meanwhile, as high profile 
assassinations have declined, federal forces have substantially 
reduced their footprint in Nuevo Leon.  End Summary. 
 
2.   (C)  Kidnapping businessmen for ransom is a new trend in 
Nuevo Leon.  Previously there had been numerous 'levantones' or 
kidnapping of people involved in the drug trade, often to make 
them pay up, but relatively few cases of kidnapping legitimate 
businessmen for ransom.  However, Post law enforcement officials 
have heard of four cases of kidnappings in the last month, and 
in one case the victim saw six other hostages in the safe house 
and another victim saw four other hostages while he was 
kidnapped.  Post officials believe that these cases are merely 
the tip of the iceberg, and there are likely to be many more 
cases.  So far the kidnappers have not targeted the heads of 
large corporations, who have too much security and too many 
political connections, or foreign executives.  Instead these 
kidnapping gangs see Mexican owners of small and medium 
companies as fair game.  Typically four heavily armed members of 
the kidnapping gang will enter the business in the morning and 
take their hostage to a safe house for several days while they 
negotiate with the family.  We know of a number of cases where 
the families paid a ransom of between $50,000 to $700,000 USD. 
However, as the gangs gain experience, they may take on bigger 
fish.  Post understands that one recent victim had two 
bodyguards when he was kidnapped. 
 
3.    (C )  It is unclear if these kidnapping gangs are 
associated with the drug cartels.  Jose de Jesus Arias 
Rodriguez, Sub-Secretary for International Relations for the 
Nuevo Leon Attorney General's office, said that they had known 
that kidnappings might increase as lower-level cartel personnel 
were being squeezed and were looking look for other sources of 
income.  In contrast, a post law enforcement official thought 
that the kidnappers were free lance criminals who are still 
amateurs in this field, although they were gaining experience. 
 
4.    (C)  Very few kidnapping cases are reported to law 
enforcement authorities, which officials use as an excuse to 
downplay the problem.  Despite a spike of press reports, and 
cases reported to Post law enforcement agencies, there have been 
only three public complaints of kidnapping in 2008.  Recently 
Rodrigo Medina, the Nuevo Leon Secretary General (equivalent to 
chief of staff) called for the public to present complaints of 
kidnapping cases to the police authorities.  However, Medina's 
plea was undercut by the actions of Aldo Fasci, the Nuevo Leon 
Secretary of Public Security, in charge of the state police. 
The press reported that Aldo Fasci's brother-in-law was 
kidnapped, but Fasci's family in law never filed a public 
complaint.  Indeed, Fasci himself characterizing the kidnapping 
as a 'personal matter,' and Fasci privately arranged for his 
brother-in-law to be released.  Note.  Post law enforcement 
agencies understand that this kidnapping was a case of mistaken 
identity, as the drug cartels involved in this case picked up 
the wrong guy, and that the kidnapping victim was released 
without payment of ransom.  End Note.   Meanwhile, several 
police authorities have downplayed the problem even in private 
meetings.  Rogelio Lozano, the Secretary for Public Security for 
San Pedro, where all the Consulate families reside, claimed that 
there had only been five kidnappings in the state and the press 
coverage was overblown.  Similarly, Poloff spoke to Roberto 
Cavazos, executive director of the Monterrey Chapter of the 
American Chamber of Commerce who claimed that the press was 
trumpeting reports of kidnappings just to sell papers. 
 
5.   (C)  Nuevo Leon does not have an effective anti-kidnapping 
unit, and state officials see kidnapping as a federal problem. 
Arias Rodriguez explained that they see kidnapping as a federal 
problem, created by federal operations squeezing the profits of 
the drug cartels, and the state's role is to provide 
intelligence to the federal forces, not to act on its own.  Post 
officials concur that Nuevo Leon no longer has an effective 
anti-kidnapping unit.   Nuevo Leon Attorney General Luis Carlos 
Trevino Berchelmann disclosed in a private meeting with the 
Consul General that Nuevo Leon was close to cracking one 
kidnapping ring, but admitted that there would still be many 
others out there. 
 
6.  (C)  Trevino told the Consul General that as the violence 
 
MONTERREY 00000232  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
has declined many of the TDY federal police have left Nuevo 
Leon.  Now, only the intelligence unit is left.  Moreover, there 
is less cooperation between Nuevo Leon and the remaining federal 
forces.  Trevino said that Nuevo Leon police previously met with 
their Mexican military counterparts once a week, but now they 
just meet once per month, and the meetings usually do not cover 
operational planning.  Note.  There are still 300 TDY Mexican 
military forces in Nuevo Leon.  On May 11 approximately 30 
agents protested that they had not been paid a bonus and that 
they were issued inadequate food and equipment.  Federal and 
state authorities denied most of the claims, but agreed to pay 
the previously promised bonus.  End Note. 
 
7.  (C)  Post has also heard reports of several recent 
kidnappings in the neighboring state of San Luis Potosi, 
including one American citizen.  The American citizen apparently 
was kidnapped after his car broke down, and the kidnappers 
called his wife and demanded $80,000.  The American Citizen 
Services Section has been in contact with the family, and Post 
is working on the case.  However, in another kidnapping case in 
San Luis Potosi, the victim's family contacted the state police, 
who reportedly told them that kidnapping is not their problem. 
Post cannot confirm this statement. 
 
8.  (C)  Comment.  To date the increase in kidnappings has not 
yet had an impact on the business climate or foreign direct 
investment. However, if kidnapping proves to be a lucrative 
business, it is likely that kidnapping gangs will increase 
unless state and local authorities react effectively.  There is 
no indication that American citizens are targeted for 
kidnapping, but given the presence of thousands of Americans in 
Nuevo Leon, there is a clear risk that American citizens, 
possible dual citizens seen as Mexicans, could be kidnapped. 
The state police have not responded effectively, nor have they 
been receptive to USG offers to help, possibly because it is so 
dangerous to take on these bands of organized criminals.  End 
Comment. 
WILLIAMSON