José Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, 25, was detained last week in Tijuana’s Zona Norte as a presumed member of a group of kidnappers that had been terrorizing people trying to cross the border.
According to Tijuana's daily Frontera, Rodríguez received 5000 pesos (about $400) for each migrant he ensnared. His group reportedly would locate potential marks, usually in the Zona Norte, who intended to cross into the U.S. illegally. Once the group had more than one border-crosser, they were taken to the mountains of Tecate, where they were told they could cross, but it would cost them between $7000 and $8500.
After they reached the mountains, the rest of the kidnappers arrived, armed, and robbed the victims of what they had and kept them as prisoners, soliciting money from relatives for their release.
The extortionists were reportedly operating out of Tijuana’s Colonia Florida. Lozano’s connection to the group was made in April of this year. His linkage to the group and the investigative efforts of the Policía Ministerial del Estado (state police) resulted in the breaking up of the operation; however, police failed to pick up Lozano at that time.