AMERICA – NORTH
6 July According to the authorities in Zapopan, Jalisco State, Ramon Reynoso Reyes (43), a businessman, was shot dead while resisting a kidnapping attempt by armed men at around 9:00am in Industrial Zapopan Norte. He was with a companion when a vehicle pulled up with gunmen in it. The gunmen attempted to force the victim into their vehicle but he resisted and was shot dead.
8 July According to the Attorney General’s Office, federal police successfully rescued five kidnapping victims and arrested 24 alleged kidnappers in recent operations in Hidalgo, Estado de Mexico, Veracruz and Guerrero. Renato Sales Heredia, el Coordinador Nacional Antisecuestro, told reporters that, thanks to the exchanges of information between the specialised units against kidnapping, the crime is being successfully contained. He added that in the period between January and May 2015, 447 kidnappings were reported, down from 688 reported over the same period in 2014, a 35% reduction. Also in the first five months of 2015, 82 criminal gangs were broken up and 510 suspected kidnappers arrested.
10 July According to a report, Angel Carrillo (23), an engineer working as technical support in el Centro Estatal de Emergencia de Tlaxcala, has developed an App, “NeuroappSuces”, that sends messages seeking help and identifies the location of the user. The App can be used by a victim of a kidnapping to seek help.
12 July El Fiscal General del Estado de Veracruz, Luis Angel Bravo Contreras, announced that eight people had been arrested as suspects in the kidnapping of the ex-Veracruz baseball player, Narcisso Elvira Delgado, and four more people on 16 June 2015. The incident happened as the five were travelling from Tlalixcoyan to a business meeting in Cuautotolapan. The vehicle they were travelling in was stopped by armed men and they were taken to a house. On the second day the kidnappers contacted the families and demanded M$10 million (USD672,000) but later negotiated a lower amount. The families accepted the assistance of la Unidad Especializada en Combate al Secuestro (UECS) who obtained proof of life and entered negotiations to reduce the demand. On 10 July, agents from UECS assisted by agents from Chiapas State police located the kidnappers safe house, rescued the five victims and arrested the eight suspects who are also believed to have been involved in 7 kidnappings in Veracruz, one in Chiapas and one in Tabasco. No ransom was paid.
13 July La Procuraduria General de Justicia de Hidalgo (PGJEH) stated that between the beginning of 2010 and June 2015, there have been 141 reported cases of kidnapping involving 160 victims. Of these, 131 were released, 11 are still being held and 18 have been killed. He added that during these 4 ½ years, 267 suspected kidnappers have been arrested and 49 kidnapping gangs dismantled. There have been nine reported cases during the first six months of 2015 involving nine hostages. Six hostages have been freed and two found dead. Over the same period, 26 suspected kidnappers have been arrested and four kidnapping gangs dismantled.
13 July El Grupo de Coordinacion de Tabasco announced that four kidnapping gangs operating in Tabasco State had been dismantled. Three members of a gang were arrested in Ciudad Pemex, Macuspana, Tabasco, on 10 July. The gang operated in la Zona de Los Rios and were responsible for the kidnapping of a rancher and a student in May 2015. Two members of a second gang were also arrested on 10 July. The gang operated in Comalcalco and Cardenas and were responsible for the kidnapping of a woman and three extortions in Comalcalco and two extortions in Cardenas. Six members of a third gang were arrested on 11 July after a woman, who had been kidnapped on 9 July, was rescued in Cardenas. The gang were also responsible for at least three further kidnappings.
14 July During a visit to Zacatecas, Renato Sales Heredia, el Coordinator Nacional Antisecuestro, said that Zacatecas ranks eighth in the list for the number of kidnappings per 100,000 residents in the country. There were 19 reported cases in 2013 and 16 reported cases in 2014, a reduction of 15.5%. To date in 2015, there have been 13 reported cases of which 12 victims have been freed and one killed, and 49 people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in kidnapping.
17 July Isabel Miranda de Wallace, from the non-governmental organisation Alto al Secuestro, stated that there had been 216 reported kidnapping cases in June an increase on the 180 reported cases in May. She added that the states with the most reported cases in June were: Estado de Mexico (37); Tamaulipas (32); Guerrero and Tabasco (17); Distrito Federal (14); Veracruz (13). She also commented that 90% of kidnapping cases are not reported.
28 July In a presentation by el Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano titled Homicidio: Una Mirada a la violencia en Mexico it was stated that between January 2012 and to date in 2015, there were 320 reported cases of kidnapping during which victims lost their lives. The percentage of cases by state was: Estado de Mexico (25%), Morelos (9.4%), Guerrero (8.8%), Veracruz (7.8%), Tamaulipas (7.5%), Mexico DF (5.6%), Michoacan (5.3%), Jalisco (5%), Baja California (4.7%) and Tabasco (3.4%). Of the 320 kidnapping victims, 250 were men and 70 were women. The largest percentage, 30%, were businessmen, 20% were employees and 16% students.
AMERICA – SOUTH
4 July According to a report in Clarin newspaper, the reporter and author, Sandra Russo, was the subject of a “virtual kidnapping” on 2 July. She received a telephone call during the afternoon from a man claiming to have kidnapped one of her daughters and demanding USD50,000 for the victim’s release. During the call she could hear someone crying out in the background but the caller would not allow her to speak to her “daughter”. She attempted to call her daughter but there was no answer. She collected the USD50,000 and made the payment in a telephone booth located in el barrio de Palermo. A few hours later, she was able to make contact with her daughter who said she had been asleep in her boyfriend’s house.
20 July The family of Mario Gal (32), a businessman who works in el Mercado Central, Posadas, Misiones, reported that he had been kidnapped for ransom. The family had been trying unsuccessfully to contact Mario during the night of 19 July. The kidnappers contacted the family during the morning of 20 July demanding a ransom and saying where the victim’s car could be found. The car was found 50 metres from la Comisaria Tercera in Posadas. Sources close to the family said that the ransom demanded was a large sum of money and that the kidnappers had provided proof of life during the telephone call.
29 July A man aged 23 years was kidnapped by criminals during a robbery at his residence in Primavera do Leste (220km south east of Cuiaba). The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded R$500,000 (USD154,800). The police located the abandoned house where the kidnappers were holding their victim through the GPS system on his mobile. The victim was rescued but the kidnappers escaped.
29 July A bank manager and his family were kidnapped in Ruy Barbosa, about 320kms from Salvador, when criminals forced their way into the family residence. The kidnappers tried unsuccessfully to rob the bank and fled the scene. The family were freed on 30 July in the town of Miracles about 94kms from Ruy Barbosa..
30 July A bank manager and his family were held hostage by criminals in Nazareth, Bahia. The criminals attempted unsuccessfully to rob the bank and, when they could not do so, released the family and fled.
7 July The army reported that Second Lieutenant Cristian Moscoso Rivera had been kidnapped by the guerrilla group, las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), after a patrol had been ambushed near El Libano, Puerto Caicedo, Putumayo Department. The victim was wounded in the exchange of fire, one soldier was killed and a further two wounded. El Frente 32, “Arturo Medina”, of FARC released a communiqué on 9 July confirming that they were holding the Second Lieutenant and that he was fit and well. FARC sought guarantees from the government to enable the safe release of their hostage. On 19 July, President Santos announced that the Second Lieutenant had been released by his FARC kidnappers. The release was carried out under a strict news blackout at the Tres de Mayo airport in Puerto Asis near the border with Ecuador. According to reports, there was activity involving several helicopters bearing the logo of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
10 July The Huila police confirmed the kidnapping of Alberto Almario Silva (60), a coffee grower, from his plantation near San Antonio, Timana, by five members of the guerrilla group, FARC. The victim was kidnapped at around 7:00pm on 9 July when the kidnappers sought help from the victim saying that their vehicle had broken down and needed help with the transportation of some goods they were carrying. He was accompanied by his friend, Daniel Anturi, who was released after the kidnappers identified themselves as members of FARC and stated that it was a kidnapping. They transferred Sr. Silva into another vehicle and drove off. The following day, the victim’s wife was contacted by the kidnappers who instructed her not to inform the authorities.
11 July The authorities reported the kidnapping of Alejandro Velasco, an engineer who works as a contractor for the Miranda municipality, in a rural area of Miranda, north east Cauca by six armed men riding three motorcycles who stopped his vehicle and then drove him away in his own vehicle. A quarry worker travelling with the victim was released immediately.
19 July Hugo Ferney Osorio, a retired police force Captain, was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping of an Israeli citizen in Bogota. The kidnapping took place on 17 July and lasted less than 24 hours after the victim tricked his kidnappers and alerted the authorities. The alleged kidnapper was reportedly hired by the victim as a bodyguard after he arrived in Colombia on 16 July. After having lunch outside Bogota on 17 July, the kidnapper, along with two accomplices, drove the victim to a ranch where three men were waiting. On arrival at the ranch, the kidnappers told their victim he would have to pay USD7.5 million to obtain his release. Apparently, they threatened to cut off his fingers, rip out his fingernails and take out his eyes using a blade. The victim was taken to a hotel in Bogota and, when he was alone with the retired police Captain, the victim convinced him that he would be able to pay Euros1 million (USD1.11 million). The kidnapper demanded USD15,000 to pay his accomplices to which the victim agreed but said he would need to call a friend. The victim called the Israeli Embassy in Bogota and explained in Hebrew that he had been kidnapped and where he was being held. The Embassy informed the authorities who stormed the hotel, freed the victim and captured the police Captain.
18 July Three men were arrested by police in connection with the kidnapping of the 10 year old nephew of one of those arrested. The victim was kidnapped as he left college in El Agustino. The kidnappers contacted the victim’s family and demanded USD15,000 for his release. The family reported the matter to the police who carried out an investigation and located the house where the victim was being held. The police mounted a rescue operation, freeing the victim and arresting the three suspects.
29 July A Peruvian military operation rescued more than a dozen people who were kidnapped by the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) rebel group up to 25 years ago. The rescued group comprised 13 adults and 26 children. The eldest victim was a 70 year old woman and the youngest a one year old child. Sendero Luminoso was largely defeated in the 1990s but remnants still remain active.
20 July According to official sources from La Jefatura de Policia de Montevideo, the police are looking for a 34 year old man from the Dominican Republic and two accomplices in connection with the attempted kidnapping of a businessman as he arrived at the family company, Promet, at around 8:30am at Brazo Oriental, Montevideo, on 11 June 2015. Soon after the kidnapping, the security forces managed to frustrate the kidnappers by rescuing the victim, who had a bullet wound to an arm. Two Dominicans and an Uruguayan have already been arrested.
3 July The bodies of Jaime Carrera (68), a businessman originally from Galicia, Spain, who had settled in Venezuela, and two of his employees, Yorman Acosta and Angel Seijas, were found with gunshot wounds near San Casimiro, a mountainous area of Aragua State. The three bodies had been buried. During a police operation to find the kidnappers, three alleged kidnappers were shot and one detained. Jaime Carrera had been kidnapped along with his two employees from his farm near San Sebastien de Los Reyes early in June. Video tapes taken from security cameras showed the kidnappers arriving at the farm but their faces were covered with masks. The family had paid an unspecified ransom said to be close to the kidnappers demand.
3 July Danny Moitata, son of the owner of Darpaca, was shot dead during a kidnapping attempt in Carrizal. The victim was driving with a female companion when his vehicle was intercepted by criminals intent on kidnapping him. He was shot when he tried to resist.