At least 10 seized in mass kidnapping at luxury restaurant in Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 10:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 10:24am

Mexican state prosecutors are investigating a mass kidnapping that took place at an upscale restaurant in the Pacific beach resort city of Puerto Vallarta early Monday morning.

Ten to 12 men were taken just after 1am from the La Leche restaurant by five armed gunmen who arrived in a pair of trucks, state prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said at a news conference, citing witnesses. Authorities found several abandoned vehicles at the restaurant, which indicates the victims were probably from a criminal group, he said. Puerto Vallarta, an upscale resort town visited by millions of foreign tourists annually, is about 880km northwest of the country’s capital, Mexico City.

Almaguer said state authorities are working with the army and navy to locate the victims and kidnappers, and are assuring the safety of tourists in the city.

Mass kidnappings have grabbed headlines in Mexico in recent years, including the 2014 disappearance and slaying of 43 college students by a drug gang allied with local police in the southern state of Guerrero. More than 150,000 people have been killed in Mexico since the nation began its war on drug cartels in December 2006, and about 26,000 have gone missing, according to the United Nations. Analysts surveyed monthly by the central bank often rank poor security as the biggest obstacle to economic growth.