Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Alleged cartel-related kidnapping in Doña Ana county, authorities say

DOÑA ANA COUNTY – An alleged kidnapping Sunday in Doña Ana County has revealed a major transnational cartel situation, according to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Kim Stewart was able to provide some details about the alleged kidnapping but said she could not speak to the larger antitrust investigation.

Stewart said a 33-year-old woman was assaulted and forcibly removed from an apartment on Union Avenue early Sunday morning. DASO MPs reacted to the alleged kidnapping at around 4.15 a.m. There, MPs learned that the woman may have been taken to a property on Savannah Road in La Mesa.

Stewart said MPs replied to the address but were unable to enter the household without an arrest warrant.

At around 9:00 am, El Paso police informed DASO that they had the alleged kidnapping victim. Stewart said it was unclear whether the woman was taken to a residence in El Paso, escaped in Doña Ana County, or was allowed to flee.

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Speaking to the woman, Stewart said it had become clear that the alleged kidnapping was part of a larger cartel situation.

Around noon on Sunday, local FBI and Homeland Security Investigations began helping DASO identify the people involved. Border Patrol was also a partner agency.

At dusk, authorities had an arrest warrant for entering the vast Savannah property, which includes outbuildings and trailers. Several people were arrested on charges unrelated to the alleged kidnapping, according to Stewart.

A man and woman were later identified and taken into custody as the woman’s suspected kidnappers, Stewart said. She did not give their names.

Enrique Lucero, 49, and Guadalupe Caro, 48, both from San Miguel, were admitted to Doña Ana County Detention Center on Monday morning on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit a first degree crime. They are currently held unbound.

Stewart mentioned that other people involved in the alleged kidnapping have not been identified or located.

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“As the day went on, as information was gathered on this entire group, it became clear that there was a link to much larger cases. I can’t comment on that, these are HSI cases. But they really helped us figure out why this was happening, what was going on, and what the big picture was, ”said Stewart.

The callout ended around midnight. Stewart said the multi-agency operation was one of the largest she has ever witnessed.

Additional information from HSI was not available prior to the publication of this article.

Leah Romero is the trend reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached on Twitter at 575-418-3442, [email protected] or @rromero_leah.

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