Mexican authorities are reporting that seven armed men took hostage and abducted up to six rival gang members who were apparently celebrating at the resort city of Puerto Vallarta. It is important to note that Puerto Vallarta is an extremely popular international resort town. The abduction took place at La Leche, a high-end restaurant on the city’s main boulevard.
Witnesses said that the gunmen jumped out of two SUVs around 1 am local time on the city’s main street. Local police are reporting that both the victims and abductors are members of local criminal organizations. Police believe they know which two gangs are involved but have refused to specifically identify those groups. Authorities have stated that the abductees have ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Local authorities have assured the public that the men kidnapped were not civilians or tourists.
Some of the gang members that were abducted had been vacationing in the town for up to a week. Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst, stated that it was “surprising” that the group of alleged gang members were apparently unarmed and lacked any form of security. Not a single shot was fired during the abduction.
Governor Aristoteles Sandoval has stated that security has been increased following the abduction. Local, state and federal authorities, including marines and soldiers, are currently reviewing surveillance footage and searching for the missing members. Five vehicles were left behind at the scene. Investigators believe the vehicles belong to the victims. However, several of the vehicles have false registrations and several of the men that were kidnapped were using false identities while vacationing, making identified the number of missing people difficult.