“HEARST” for Borderland Beat
|National Guard members arrive at one of the safe houses. At least 13 people who were held hostage by a cartel were able to escape and ask for help.|
In Irapuato, Guanajuato, a man ran into the Police Integration Center (CIPOL) located on Calzada de los Chinacos street and told the officers he had just managed to escape from a safehouse where he was held captive. Neighbors said that the man was not the only hostage who had just managed to escape but 10 other captives as well. The other captives were said to have scattered in different directions after they made it outside of the residence. Some of the escapees could be seen to still be wearing gags in their mouths as they fled.
The Irapuato Security Secretariat confirmed that at around 9:30 pm on May 8, 2021, a man reported he had been kidnapped and forcibly detained inside a home. He explained to officers that he was restrained and tortured inside the building.
Members of the National Guard (GN) and municipal police launched an operation to raid the location the man had described, a house located on Francisco Villa street in the Gámez neighborhood of Irapuato. They approached the location on vehicles mounted with turrets, moving from De la Reforma street to Isabel Street to Francisco Villa street.
In the five blocks surrounding the residence, GN and municipal officers were set up in strategic locations, anticipating there would be a, as El Sol de Leon puts it, a “criminal response” to the raid on the safe house. Isabel and Francisco Villa streets were cordoned off and closed to all traffic.
Inside the residence, they found a man tied up who reported he had been captive for seven days. Additionally they found the dead body of another man. No fatalities or injuries to officers or others were reported as a result of the operation. No arrests were announced either. Shortly before midnight, the Attorney General’s Office (FGE) arrived at the safe house in order to start the investigation and collect evidence. The deceased person was transported to the Forensic Medical Service.
Even more intriguing, a very similar set of events happened in Irapuato on April 26, 2021. A man approached guards of the Quinta las Villas residential subdivision, asking for help. He reported to them that he had just escaped a safehouse inside the subdivision where he was being held against his will.
The victim reported that he was kidnapped days earlier in the Las Huertas Tercera neighborhood by armed men and thrown into a vehicle. The vehicle took him to a Quinta las Villas house and the men had reportedly injured him while he was captive. The victim was said to be badly injured and have visible signs of torture in addition to handcuffs restraining him. Informativo Agora reports the man had managed to escape due to an “oversight” on the part of his kidnappers. The subdivision guards contacted the Municipal police at roughly 10 pm.
At least a dozen units from the Secretary of Citizen Security and the National Guard arrived at the Quinta las Villas house. A source close to Periodico AM and Al Dia told them that the kidnappers managed to escape in the direction of Boulevard Villas and avoid capture. The victim was guarded by Municipal police during the operation for the sake of his safety. Inside the safehouse authorities were able to seize drugs, 3 homemade grenades, 39mm ammunition, a tactical vest with ballistic plates and other assorted paramilitary gear.
After the house was secured, the victim was taken to the State Attorney General’s Office so he could officially file a complaint and they could open an investigation.
The northern area of Irapuato has been attractive area for the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) to look for places from which to operate. Security forces have already seized several of their properties in places such as Calzada de los Chinacos, Ciudad Deportiva, Villas de Irapuato and Residencial Campestre. It is in these houses that the CJNG keeps rival gang members hostage and kills them.
Note: Some early reports said on May 8, a man had entered Hospital General Irapuato (not CIPOL) to report the kidnapping. If this is the same man and the location was initially misreported, or if this was a second person is unknown.
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