Mexico City police have arrested a doctor accused of leading a band of kidnappers that operated in the south of the capital.
Benito Arriaga Cedillo, a surgeon with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), was taken into custody after a warrant was issued for his arrest following the November 23 kidnapping of a woman in the borough of Tlalpan.
According to authorities, the victim was abducted after agreeing to meet with a woman who feigned interest in purchasing a property she was selling.
Upon arriving at the property last Saturday, the victim was forced into a car by five armed and masked men and driven to a safe house in Tlalpan allegedly owned by Arriaga.
The kidnappers then called family members of the woman to demand a ransom, and reportedly received 800,000 pesos (US $40,800) for her release.
Authorities say that Arriaga, an IMSS employee for the past 25 years, was the mastermind of the kidnapping and was at the property where the woman was held.
He is also accused of ordering at least one other abduction that employed a similar modus operandi. The doctor is currently being held in Mexico City’s Reclusorio Oriente prison.
IMSS said in a statement that it will fully cooperate with authorities’ investigation into the crimes allegedly committed by Arriaga.
Kidnappings surged in Mexico City in the first half of the year compared to the same period of 2018 but declined 30% in the third quarter.
The head of the capital’s anti-kidnapping unit was dismissed in June as a result of his handling of the Norberto Ronquillo case, in which a 22-year-old student was kidnapped and later found dead.