La Oferta

March 20, 2023

27 people kidnapped from call center in Mexican Caribbean resort city

Cancun, Mexico, Jul 3 (EFE).- At least 27 people were kidnapped from a vacation telesales center located in a residential area in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun, state security officials said Wednesday.

“All the agencies are dealing with the reports of the disappearance in Benito Juarez. According to eyewitnesses, there was an unusual movement of people at a business, without violence or firearms. We respectfully ask that no one speculate,” Quintana Roo state Public Safety Secretary Jesus Alberto Capella said in a Twitter post.

The Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that investigators were looking into Tuesday’s mass disappearance as a possible kidnapping involving “at least 27 people.”

Based on the initial results of the investigation and eyewitness accounts, the AG’s office said a group of unidentified individuals burst into a house being used as a call center for marketing vacation packages and took away the workers in two SUVs.

“They left the place with the employees, without any signs of violence or the presence of arms. As of now, their whereabouts is unknown,” the AG’s office said in a briefing handout on the case.

Prosecutors said investigators were looking at the possibility of a dispute between the call center’s owners being behind the kidnapping, noting that the owners parted ways about two weeks ago.

Policías federales custodian este miércoles la escena de la investigación tras la desaparición de al menos 27 personas, en Cancún (México).

“We know that the subjects also took three automobiles and a motorcycle owned by the people who worked at the establishment,” the AG’s office said.

Neighbors said the incident occurred around 6:00 pm Tuesday, but they did not report it to police in the city of Benito Juarez, where Cancun is located, until several hours later.

Local, state and federal authorities are all treating the disappearance as a possible kidnapping, officials said.

Authorities conducted a search for the missing people, of whom at least one is a minor, during the early morning hours.

Eyewitness accounts differed from the official version of events, with those who watched the abduction saying that the subjects who took away the workers were armed with rifles.

Reporters asked President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador about the kidnapping as soon as his daily press conference started.

“Looks like it’s a conflict between two groups. It’s too early to talk about a kidnapping in the sense of criminal gangs being involved, it’s just two groups that were involved in some activity and had a dispute,” Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said.

If the incident is related to a business dispute, “this is not the method for dealing with differences,” AMLO said.

In Quintana Roo, according to official reports, at least five gangs have been fighting for control of drug sales, focusing mainly on Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

The rise in violence in the resort cities, where shootouts and gangland hits have occurred, has driven tourists away.