Yesterday's rescue of kidnap victim Joel Argueta. Yesterday's rescue of kidnap victim Joel Argueta.

Kidnap victim freed in Michoacán after 10-million-peso ransom demand

It was the second kidnap rescue this week in the state

A Michoacán businessman kidnapped on July 27 was rescued by a team of police and marines yesterday.

The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of 10 million pesos (US $530,000) for Contepec gas station owner Joel Argueta Pizaña, who is also municipal leader of the Morena party.

The state’s anti-kidnapping agency, Federal Police and marines followed the kidnappers’ trail after Argueta’s family made a first ransom payment of 280,000 pesos (almost $15,000) and filed a formal complaint.

Investigators discovered that Argueta was being held on a ranch in the eastern, mountainous region of the state near the México state border.

The kidnappers opened fire on authorities as they approached the ranch but the firefight was short. Two men were arrested and the kidnap victim freed and transferred to a hospital to be treated for malnutrition.

The two men who were holding Argueta are believed to be part of the gang, Los Viagra.

Argueta was the second kidnapping victim to be rescued this week. A seven-year-old girl who was abducted from Uruapan on July 30 was found safe Tuesday in Morelia.

Her captors demanded a ransom of 1.5 million pesos (about US $79,500) but they were tracked down by state officials who tapped five telephone lines to determine their location.

There have been 17 reported kidnappings so far this year in Michoacán. There were 26 cases last year and 25 the year before.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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