Authorities in the western Mexican state of Jalisco have launched a search after a man was kidnapped from his store by armed men posing as law enforcement agents.
Surveillance video leaked on social media and to local media organizations showed the moment Carlos Javier Flores was approached by four individuals dressed in black at his grocery store in San Gaspar, a neighborhood in the city of Tonalá.
The fake cops also wore bulletproof vests with badges that identified themselves as members of the Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office.
The 47-year-old grocery store owner’s wife, Laura Flores, told UNO TV that the men advised Flores they were only conducting an inspection before they took him away as their daughters looked on.
‘The first thing [they] told him [was] that [it was] a routine check-up and after that they grabbed him and put him in the truck,’ Laura Flores said. ‘We went out and we asked them why were they going to take him away and they didn’t answer us. They just closed the doors and left.’
In the two videos that appeared online, at no point did Carlos Javier Flores resist being arrested.
Laura Flores said she used her cellphone to record the armed individuals leading her husband into an unmarked, black pickup truck. She also managed to record the vehicle’s rear license plates although the last couple of numbers were partially covered.
She added that her husband had opened the shop three weeks ago and that last week he received a phone call in which he was threatened with being kidnapped if he did not forego the collection of a $178 loan owed by a woman.
Carlos Javier Flores, who expected to collect $223 with interest already included, never filed a report with the police.
The Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement Monday confirming that Carlos Javier Flores was not in custody of the Tonalá municipal police, Jalisco state police or that he had been detained by agents from their department.
‘It should be noted that according to information obtained by the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office derived from other investigation files of people who were kidnapped, criminal groups use the tactic of posing as law enforcement agents in order to commit different crimes,’ the prosecutor’s office said. [‘It’s] a situation that has remained in evidence in different operations where the seizure of tactical equipment, clothing and other objects with logos of different municipal, state and federal agencies was pulled off.’