AMERICA – NORTH

Mexico

2 June According to el Procurador de Tabasco, Fernando Valenzuela Pernas, as a result of the coordination of intelligence and hard work, the security forces have carried out a number of operations since the beginning of February 2014 during which 18 members of a notorious kidnapping gang have been arrested. The gang had been responsible for the kidnapping of 23 people over one year. He added that between 1 January and 31 May 2014, there have been 56 reported kidnapping incidents in Tabasco.

3 June New federal guidelines were published that doubled the sentences for kidnapping. The minimum term is increased from 20 years to 40 years and maximum sentences from 50 years to 140 years. The longest sentences would be given to those who kill their victims. Other aggravating factors include injuring the victim, kidnapping a minor and if the suspect is a current or former police officer or soldier. Most states do not have life sentences and prison terms are normally limited to 60 years for federal offences. Kidnapping is exempt from those limits.

15 June According to figures released by Alto Al Secuestro, there were 162 reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas state during the first four months of 2014 compared with 71 reported incidents over the same period in 2013. This represented an increase of 128%. The monthly figures for Tamaulipas were: 67 reported incidents in January; 30 in February; 36 in March; and 29 in April.

18 June A report covering crimes of high impact released by el Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano (ONC) for April based on figures supplied by el Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica, showed that there were 169 victims of kidnapping during the month in the country. This represents a kidnapping every 5 hours. It also shows a reduction in kidnappings of 8% between March and April.

18 June The average monthly kidnappings in the country reached record figures with 143 per month compared with 141.5 per month in 2013 and 118 per month in 2012. Over the past ten years, kidnapping in the country has increased by 425% from 323 reported incidents in 2004 to 1,698 reported incidents in 2013. El Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano said that the crime that increased the most from February to March was extortion with a 9.04% increase.

23 June The organisation Alto Al Secuestro released figures for kidnapping during the month of May. There were 220 reported kidnappings in the country during the month an increase of 7% compared with the figure for April. The May figure represents a kidnapping every three hours. The number of kidnappings reported for the first five months of 2014 was 1,542 and increase of 63% over the same period in 2013 when 947 incidents were reported. The number of reported incidents on a national level from 1 December 2012 to 31 May 2014 was 4,383.

24 June La Procuraduria General de Justicia de Veracruz announced a reduction of 50% in reported incidents of kidnapping between April and May. In April there were 25 incidents reported and 14 incidents in May. He added that in 85% of the reported cases the victims were rescued.

27 June A lady identified only as Cinthia C., the daughter of a partner in an urban transport company owner of some trucks, was kidnapped around 8:00am while driving in La Colonia San Joaquim, San Francisco de Campeche. The vehicle was hit by two bullets. Witnesses to the incident reported at least three armed men in a vehicle fired at the victim’s vehicle forcing it to stop. The victim’s three year old son was left in the vehicle when his mother was abducted. The kidnappers later made a ransom demand of 20 million pesos (USD1.25 million).

28 June La Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) stated that 39 migrants, 26 Mexicans and 13 foreigners, were rescued from a ranch at Altar in the northern state of Sonora. Four people suspected of being involved in the kidnapping of the migrants were arrested.

30 June According to figures released by el Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SESNSP) of la Secretaria de Gobernacion, there were 8 reported kidnapping incidents in Morelos State in May compared to 15 reported incidents in April. The number of extortions also reduced from 48 in April to 35 in May. In the country as a whole, from the start of the year up to the end of May 2014, Tamaulipas had the most reported kidnapping incidents with 177, followed by Michoacan with 97, Veracruz (81), Mexico (73) and Morelos (69).

30 June In a brief statement, the Defence Department said soldiers patrolling in the town of Tlataya, Guerrero, were fired upon by men guarding a warehouse. After a gun battle that left 22 of the defenders dead and one soldier wounded, they entered the warehouse and rescued three women who had been kidnapped.

USA

16 June A number of American citizens are still being held hostage abroad after the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban including: • Caitlan Coleman who was taken hostage in October 2012 by the Taliban while travelling through Afghanistan with her husband, Canadian Joshua Boyle. She was pregnant at the time and has given birth while in captivity • Former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Levinson went missing in March 2007 while on Iran’s Kish Island. It was later discovered that he was working as a Central Intelligence Agency contractor at the time of his disappearance • Warren Weinstein, a development expert employed by a US Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor, was kidnapped from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011 • Journalist James Foley was taken off a street in Syria in November 2012 • Austin Tice, a freelance journalist, was kidnapped in Syria in August 2012 • Jeffrey Ake, a water bottling contractor, disappeared in April 2005 in Baghdad, Iraq. The kidnappers demanded USD2 million but cut off negotiations after three weeks • Journalist Michael Scott Moore was taken from an airport in Somalia by gunmen in January 2012 • Luke Somers, a photojournalist, was kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2012 • Former Marine Armando Torres III was kidnapped in La Barranca, Tamaulipas, Mexico, as he travelled to his father’s ranch in May 2013

AMERICA – CENTRAL

Guatemala

29 June A spokesman for La Fuerza de Tarea Contra el Secuestro of la Policia Nacional Civil (PNC) stated that six suspected members of a kidnapping for ransom gang called ”los Falsos Pastores” had been captured in an operation in Patulul, Suchitepequez. The spokesman added that the gang had carried out a number of kidnappings and were known to be directly responsible for five incidents including one in September 2013 during which the victim’s finger was cut off. The gang was captured while attempting to kidnap a businessman in Concepcion, Escuintla.

Honduras

8 June The police rescued an unnamed secondary student who had been kidnapped on 6 June in La Fuente, Tegucigalpa. The kidnappers contacted the student’s family with a ransom demand of L1 million (USD52,350). The police reported that the victim was released as a result of police pressure and three suspected kidnappers had been arrested.

17 June La Unidad Nacional de Antipandillas y Secuestros (UNAPS) arrested a man and a woman in Nueva Arcadia, Copan, and rescued a 12 year old boy who had been kidnapped on 15 June. The kidnappers had contacted the victim’s family and demanded Lempiras 1,500,000 (USD79,000) for his release.

AMERICA – SOUTH

Brazil

12 June Police arrested five people, four men and a woman, who are believed to be responsible for a number of kidnappings in the Sinos Valley, Rio Grande do Sul. They are suspected of being responsible for the kidnapping of the 14 year old daughter of a businessman. They demanded Reias 500,000 (USD225,200) for her release. After negotiations, the demand was reduced to a much smaller amount which was paid and the girl was released.

21 June Four years after the securities regulator, CVM, ordered the release of pay deals for top executives, a court case is still ongoing to force companies to reveal the details. More than one third of the country’s most traded companies are refusing to comply saying the rule violates the executives’ privacy and puts them at risk from kidnapping.

Chile

30 June According to a report released by la Brigada de Investigaciones Policiales Especiales (Bipe), 66.2% of reported kidnappings in 2013 were false. There were 77 reported cases of which only 26 were true cases. The majority of cases were related to drug dealing. In 2012 there were 62 reported cases of which 45 were false.

Colombia

26 June Twelve campesinos and the crew of a river boat were kidnapped by guerrillas from the 34th Front of FARC between Turbo and Riosucio on the Rio Atrato, Choco Department. The kidnappers were pursued by the Navy and, as a result of pressure, released the victims the following morning before escaping by boat.

Paraguay

5 June It is now 64 days since Arlan Fick Bremm (16) was kidnapped on 2 April by members of Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguay (EPP) from his house in Azotey. The family have paid USD500,000 as a ransom but the kidnappers have demanded the family pay an extra USD50,000 towards work in the local community. The family have had no news of Arlan since he was kidnapped.

Venezuela

5 June Agents from Cicpc rescued Enengys Marti Castellano Ruiz (31) and her 11 month old son who had been kidnapped in Cagua, Aragua. The kidnappers had contacted the victim’s family and demanded Bs.400,000 (USD63,500) for her release and that of her infant son.

25 June Nelson Ramirez, President of Petrolera Indovezenezolana, was kidnapped as he left lunch in Guatire to board a hire vehicle that was to take him to Caracas for a Petroleos de Venezuela meeting. The authorities, who are investigating the incident, believe the gang might have been planning a “secuestro expres” until they realised the importance of their victim. The kidnappers have been using the codeword “zonas de Paz de Barlovento” in their calls.

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