Authorities have confirmed that a vehicle found in Tonalá, Jalisco, belongs to missing Mexican army colonel José Isidro Grimaldo Muñoz, who was kidnapped 12 days ago by the Jalisco Cartel.
The beige Mini Cooper was found with broken windows at the side of a road in Tonalá municipality, Ricardo Sánchez Beruben, general strategic security coordinator of Jalisco, told the press.
He confirmed that the National Defense Ministry (Sedena) continues to search for the missing colonel, contradicting rumors that his body has already been found.
Grimaldo Muñoz has been missing since Dec. 10. At a press conference on Friday, General Crisóforo Martínez Parra, commander of the 15th Military Zone in Jalisco, stated that the colonel was abducted by armed men simulating a traffic incident, while vacationing in a rural area of Tapalpa, Jalisco.
Sedena alleges that a local cell of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), commanded by a criminal known by the alias “CR,” is responsible for the kidnapping.
“With data collected from CJNG members and other sources of information, it has been possible to establish a defined perimeter, within which Colonel Grimaldo has most likely been moved and where we are directing our search efforts,” Martínez Parra said on Friday.
Grimaldo Muñoz currently holds the position of colonel in the General Staff of the Sixteenth Motorized Cavalry Regiment based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. He previously served as commander of the regiment’s Urban Dragoons, but was removed from the post in May after reports of excessive use of force by the personnel under his command.
Nevertheless, Martínez Parra emphasized that the colonel had built up a strong professional record, but gave no indication of the motive for his abduction. Nuevo Laredo is currently dominated by the Northeast Cartel, an offshoot of the Zetas with no known ties to the CJNG.
“In addition to being an excellent soldier and a good citizen, [Grimaldo Muñoz] is a father, husband, son and brother, so his disappearance causes great pain within his family and within the armed forces,” Martínez Parra said.
Grimaldo Muñoz’s kidnapping is the second time in less than a month that a Mexican army officer has been attacked by cartels. On Nov. 24, General José Silvestre Urzúa Padilla, commander of the National Guard in Zacatecas, was killed while conducting an operation against organized crime groups in the state.