The Mexican army said late Friday that the violent Jalisco drug cartel has kidnapped a colonel who commanded a detachment in the gang-dominated northern border city of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas.
The kidnapping of Col. José Isidro Grimaldo Muñoz occurred farther south while he was on vacation in the state of Jalisco, the cartel’s home base.
It was the second time in less than a month that a Mexican army officer has been attacked by cartels.
Gen. Crisóforo Martínez Parra said the missing colonel was vacationing at a rural cabin in the town of Tapalpa, Jalisco, when armed members of the cartel abducted him after a traffic incident.
“He was intercepted by armed individuals in two vehicles, who violently forced him to get out and took him away to an unknown location,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The army said Grimaldo Muñoz had a “good professional record,” serving with distinction in Nuevo Laredo, a city dominated by the Northeast Cartel, an offshoot of the old Zetas cartel.
It was not immediately clear if the Northeast cartel had any links to the Jalisco gang, or if the colonel’s captors knew who he was when they abducted him. The Defense Department said a search for him was continuing.
In November, an army general serving in Mexico’s National Guard was killed in a shootout in the north-central state of Zacatecas.
Gen. José Urzúa Padilla was the top official of the Guard in the state. He died while pursuing a suspected drug cartel gunman in an area where the Jalisco gang has been fighting turf wars with the rival Sinaloa cartel and allied groups.
The U.S. Department of Justice considers the Jalisco cartel to be “one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world.” The cartel’s leader, Nemesio Oseguera, “El Mencho,” is among the most sought by Mexican and U.S. authorities.
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration told CBS News that the Jalisco cartel is a driving force behind the influx of fentanyl in the U.S. that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans.
“What we see happening at DEA is essentially that there are two cartels in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, that are killing Americans with fentanyl at catastrophic and record rates like we have never seen before,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told “CBS Mornings” in August. “Those cartels are acting with calculated, deliberate treachery to get fentanyl to the United States and to get people to buy it through fake pills, by hiding it in other drugs, any means that they can take in order to drive addiction and to make money.”