18 of 25 kidnapping victims are found alive in Mexico


CULIACAN - Authorities in Mexico said March 23 that they have found 18 people alive a day after they were abducted in the country’s northwest.

On March 22, an emergency hotline received reports of abductions from several homes in a working-class neighborhood of Culiacan, Sinaloa state security secretary Gerardo Merida said in a brief statement.

Now, “18 people have been freed who had been kidnapped in Culiacan,” the statement said. “There are another seven who have yet to be released.”

Sinaloa Governor Ruben Rocha said on X, formerly Twitter, that those released were nine adults and nine children, and that the search for the others was ongoing.

The latest incidents followed an armed clash Thursday that left three people dead in the Sinaloa town of Badiraguato, birthplace of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is serving a life sentence in the United States.

Authorities declined to speculate on any connection between the two incidents.

Culiacan was the scene of violent riots by the Sinaloa cartel in October 2019 during an aborted operation to capture El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzman, and again in January 2023, when the son was finally arrested.

Murders, abductions and forced disappearances are daily occurrences in Mexico, particularly in areas gripped by turf wars between drug gangs such as Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.

Nearly 450,000 people have been murdered across Mexico since 2006, when then-president Felipe Calderon launched a controversial anti-drug military campaign, according to official data. AFP

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