Mexican kidnap gang used women to lure victims

The Mexican authorities have arrested the leader of a gang specializing in kidnappings that used women to lure their victims through social media, the federal police said Wednesday.

The leader and a female member of the group were arrested in Coatzacoalcos, a town in the crime-plagued eastern state of Veracruz, where they are linked with 12 kidnappings, police said.

"Their modus operandi consisted in using female members of the organization to attract victims through social media and invite them to various locations," head of police investigations Omar Garcia Harfuch told a news conference.

"Once they showed up, they were taken by the other members," he said, adding that in most cases, the gang killed the victims after receiving a ransom.

Veracruz has been plagued by crime, disappearances and drug violence for years.

Government figures show 867 kidnappings reported across Mexico between January and August, including 92 in Veracruz, but non-governmental organizations say the number is probably higher because such crimes are often not reported.

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