Mexican cartel gunmen kidnap and beat 11 police officers

Cartel gunmen kidnapped 11 police officers traveling through the Mexican central state of Puebla during the weekend, taking their guns and detaining them for hours, according to reports.

The officers were traveling in two police trucks when their attackers surrounded them, ordering them to get out and forcing them to kneel, reported Mexican news outlets. The gunmen, who had been in three SUVs, took the officers’ weapons and cell phones and beat them, according to the reports.

The officers had finished responding to a call about an attempted theft of gasoline from an oil refinery.

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The gunmen released the police near a highway in Mexico City, but kept their police trucks, as well as the other items they had taken.

The attackers released the officers after authorities launched a search for them.

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The area where the police were kidnapped is a high-risk one for kidnapping and other crimes, reported the Mexico News Daily.

Roughly 1,200 people were kidnapped in Mexico in 2017, which has been a problem in the country since criminal organizations began carrying them out in 2006 to get ransoms to finance their illicit activities, said the website Vox. 

Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés, a research professor at the Autonomous University of Coahuila, Mexico, was quoted as telling the outlet: “They had to find other sources of income, which gave the hitmen in these groups carte blanche to participate in activities like kidnapping and extortion.”

Last month, an armed gang in Mexico kidnapped 22 passengers who were hauled off a passenger bus.

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The kidnapping recalled another in 2011, when dozens of passengers were hauled off buses by drug gangs in Tamaulipas, killed and their bodies dumped in mass graves.