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Mexico Crime: Suspect Held Over Young Men’s Kidnapping

Prosecutors in Mexico say they have arrested a suspect in the disappearance of five young men from the city of Lagos de Moreno in August.

The five childhood friends vanished from a local lookout on 11 August.

Images emerged later which showed them kneeling, bound and gagged, at an abandoned building nearby.

There has been no trace of them since but security analysts fear they may have fallen victim to a powerful crime gang active in Jalisco state.

Mexico’s National Search Commission says more than 110,000 people have been reported missing since 1962.

The five ranged in age between 19 and 22 and had known each other since they were little. On 11 August they visited a local fair before going to a local lookout near their home town of Lagos de Moreno, in Jalisco state.

One of them sent a message to his family at 22:55 local time telling them that they were heading home. When they did not get back, their families raised the alarm.

Days after their disappearance, a photo of five young men, bloodied and terrified, was uploaded onto social media. The parents of the missing confirmed that those in the photo were their sons.

A video also emerged apparently showing one of the five brutally beating one of his friends. Local media reported that it was not unusual for Mexico’s ruthless gangs to force their captives to turn onto each other.

David Saucedo Torres, an expert on organised crime consulted by BBC Mundo, said that the five may have been the victims of an attempt of forced recruitment by the powerful Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG).

According to Mr Saucedo, forced recruits are often ordered at gunpoint to carry out gruesome acts of violence, including murders, as part of their training.

The security expert says that the war between rival cartels in the state of Jalisco is so lethal that criminal gangs have had to resort to kidnapping young men to replace those killed.

Prosecutors hope the arrest of a suspect on Monday will shed light on the case and reveal what happened to the five.

The burned-out shells of the two cars the friends had been travelling in have been located, but human remains found inside turned out not to match those of the five. It is not yet known whom the remains may have belonged to.

It is not the first time a group of young people has fallen victim to cartel violence in the state of Jalisco.

Source: BBC