Cartel Kidnaps Mexican Border-State Mayor

On Friday night, a group of cartel gunmen chased down and kidnapped a Mexican border-state mayor and eight others.

Mexican police performed a statewide search and government officials pressured the drug cartel to release the nine hostages. On Saturday afternoon, Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme confirmed that the mayor and eight others had been released.

Mario Cedillo had been traveling through the border city of Nuevo Laredo on his way back from work meetings in the state of Oaxaca when gunmen in two SUVs got behind his vehicle. Government officials lost contact with the mayor shortly after that.

The cartel gunmen kidnapped the mayor, his wife, one of his sons, and several staff members.

Riquelme released a statement on Saturday describing the events and confirming that the nine victims had been kidnapped. He also stated that he was working with military forces and the governments of neighboring states to locate the captured individuals.

The area where the crime took place is known to be controlled by the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas, one of the most violent cartels in Mexico. Members of their gang have been known to construct roadblocks at their leisure and ride through the city in armored vehicles with high-powered guns.

In a recent episode, a regional commander in the gang got in a shootout with police, resulting in his arrest.

The gang is also responsible for several attacks on civilians in the area, drawing criticism from Riquelme.

In early October, the same gang faction reportedly kidnapped 11 artisans traveling through Nuevo Laredo for an art exposition. The gang attacked the group while they were riding in their truck with their wares. After intense government pressure, the gang released the artisans.

Last month, the gang captured a group of day laborers from Tamaulipas, and no one has heard from them since. Relatives of the victims staged a protest outside the residence of Tamaulipas governor Americo Villarreal, but there has been no government response.