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Mexican Officials Say Former U.S. Cop Led Kidnap Ring

A man who served in the U.S. military and as a Texas police officer has been arrested near Monterrey, Mexico, where authorities say he led a kidnapping gang. The suspect, 32, is known by two names: Luis Ricardo Gonzalez Garcia and Javier Aguirre Cardenas, according to Mexican law enforcement officials. The 16-member gang is blamed for several violent crimes.

Officials say they arrested the man, who served in the U.S. armed forces from 1998 to 2002 and as a police officer in Laredo from 2002 to 2009, in a car in an upscale neighborhood on the edge of Monterrey. He was carrying a 9mm handgun, they say.

That arrest occurred in October; other members of the kidnapping ring were also rounded up last month in the state of Nuevo Leon, according to police who announced the arrests Monday.

Here's more from Agence France-Presse:

"The suspected gang leader is accused of ordering the September 25 kidnapping of Jorge Luis Martinez Martinez, the 70-year-old father of the mayor of the town of Zuazua, a suburb of Monterrey.

"The victim was found dead five days later in the neighboring state of Coahuila even though a ransom had been paid for his release."

According to Mexico's Informador news site, the man's name is Gonzalez Garcia and Cardenas is an alias. While some confusion exists over what branch of the service he was in, CNN Mexico says he was in the U.S. Army.

In Mexico, "official figures show that 1,205 people were abducted in the first nine months of the year, compared to 1,317 in 2012," AFP says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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