Wednesday, June 5, 2013

México: Update--Three Weeks Pass with No Word on the Fate of US Marine, Father, Uncle

According to the McAllen-based Valley Morning Star, more than three weeks after passed since US Marine veteran Armando Torres III, his father, Armando Torres II, and his uncle, Salvador Torres were kidnapped from the family ranch by unidentified gunmen. The abduction occurred on the evening on May 14.

The family's ranch was not far from Los Indios International Bridge, which may have been a motive for the kidnapping, to force the victims into letting drug traffickers use the ranch for their drug operations. 

A Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office (TAGO) spokesperson said they dispatched investigators to the family’s ranch called “La Barranca," where officers canvassed the grounds and spoke with persons close to the Torres family. 

COMMENT: What I have learned over the years from the kidnappings that I've handled is that it is never positive for searchers and police to presume that the kidnap victims have been killed. Thus, it is essential that both police and families assume their family members are still alive until proved otherwise.

Although it is possible that the kidnapped family members were killed, it is just as possible that they remain alive.

The FBI is also actively involved in the abduction. Rightfully so, they have made no statements, unlike the Mexican side that told those close to the case that the three men would never be found.

The area where the ranch is located lies along a known drug corridor where drug traffickers on the Mexican side move drugs into the US side.

Interestingly, TAGO launched its probe into the missing family members only after receiving an e-mail from the FBI asking for their help in the kidnapping investigation. 

In all deference to TAGO, investigators have determined that the late Don Armando Torres, Marine Torres' grandfather, had sold part of his ranch two years ago to a man named Jesús Pecina-Chaires. Pecina-Chaires went to prison in the US in March 2013 on an illegal re-entry conviction, which prompted a dispute over the land. Relatives of Pecina-Chaires said he grew upset at the ongoing land dispute and told the family that he would take care of it. Pecina-Chaires is currently serving a 10-month sentence at the CI Reeves federal prison in Pecos, in West Texas, for an illegal re-entry charge.  Torres III’s aunt, Patricia Torres, said she believes whoever was involved in the land dispute has ties to Mexican organized crime.

Needless to say, there are a number of viable leads and motives that TAGO and the FBI can pursue that may well explain the basis of the kidnapping of the three family members.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.