Friday, September 18, 2009

Former Chief Jose Cruz Arrested for Kidnapping

The former police chief in the Gulf coast port of Veracruz was among 11 people arrested for the kidnapping of Mexican customs official Francisco Serrano Aramoni, who remains missing and is feared dead.

Jose Osiris Cruz was detained Wednesday by military police, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

A Veracruz state judge issued warrants for the arrest of Cruz and 10 other suspects on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking and illegal weapons possession, AG office spokesman Ricardo Celso Najera said.

Serrano, the head of the customs office in Veracruz, was driving home from work the night of June 1 when another vehicle rammed his vehicle and forced him to stop. Armed assailants then grabbed the official and drove away.

Since taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 50,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal police officers across Mexico in a bid to crush the country’s powerful drug cartels.

The operation has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to the cartels’ ability to buy off police and even high-ranking prosecutors.

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