MEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities on Tuesday presented four suspects in the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of businessman and former government official Nelson Vargas, whose body was found last December.
The arrest of the suspects, presumed members of the “Los Rojos” (The Reds) gang, took place in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, according to Luis Cardenas Palomino, intelligence director in the federal Public Safety Department.
Among the suspects who were arrested is Candido Ortiz Gonzalez, 42, whom authorities have accused of being the leader of the criminal band and negotiating and collecting ransoms for their captives.
The group is suspected in the kidnapping of 20-year-old Silvia Vargas, which took place on Sept. 10, 2007.
Her remains were found 15 months later in a house in Mexico City and, from the condition of the body, it is presumed that she was killed several months prior to that.
The Vargas case aroused the indignation of Mexican society, which in August 2008 also was shaken by the murder of teenager Fernando Marti, the son of a prominent businessman, at the hands of his kidnappers, who were also captured earlier this month.
The Attorney General’s Office offered rewards of up to 2 million pesos ($151,500) for the capture of those responsible for the kidnapping of Silvia Vargas.
Palomino said that Los Rojos are accused of committing at least 25 kidnappings in different states around the country.
The kidnapping band headed by Ortiz Gonzalez and his brothers Miguel, Raul and Oscar, has been characterized “by their cruelty, since they mutilated their victims as a form of pressure” tactics, the official added.
Meanwhile, Nelson Vargas thanked the authorities for their efforts on the Televisa television network.
Vargas, who headed Mexico’s national sports and fitness commission, Conade, de 2000 a 2006, will have to listen to tapes that the authorities have in their possession to verify if the voice of one of the suspects in custody corresponds to the one of the criminal with whom he fruitlessly negotiated the release of his daughter. EFE