Two Americans from southern California, 20-year-old Teddy Toledo and his 17-year-old sister, stand accused of abducting a 19-year-old hardware store clerk in Tijuana, Mexico. On Monday, the victim was rescued by army troops and the siblings were arrested along with two Mexican nationals—all four are tied to the Tijuana drug cartel headed by Teodoro Eduardo García Simental, or “El Teo.” The alleged kidnappers are reported to have asked for a $1 million ransom, though the sister has denied having any connection to the crime.
In an interview at the Morelos military base, the kidnapped man said that he had been mistaken for the store owner’s son. For six days, he was held and bound with little access to food or water.
Baja California Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez said the cross-border nature of the crime highlights the need for collaboration between U.S. and Mexican authorities. Since taking office, President Felipe Calderón has deployed more than 45,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal police officers across Mexico to reduce the violence and crimes committed by drug cartels, and in turn, border drug runners have increasingly turned to kidnapping as another means of making money.