Mass kidnapping in Puerto Vallarta; businessman dies

About 20 people from Guanajuato, allegedly, were deprived of their freedom by armed men last weekend in Puerto Vallarta, while they were on an adventure trip in all-terrain vehicles through the Western Sierra of Jalisco.

The Jalisco Prosecutor's Office confirmed the death of one of the tourists, although it said it had no report of a kidnapping or disappearance. Photo: Agencies
The Jalisco Prosecutor's Office confirmed the death of one of the tourists, although it said it had no report of a kidnapping or disappearance. Photo: Agencies

On Saturday, July 18, a group of 13 to 14 young entrepreneurs who left Guanajuato on board of ATVs and SUVs to complete the tourist route known as "Vallartazo" were attacked by a convoy in the tourist port of Vallarta, in the state of Jalisco.

The story was published Saturday by Reforma. According to the information in this newspaper, one of the tourists died as a result of the shots fired by the armed convoy and others continue to be missing a week after the incident.

The Jalisco Prosecutor's Office confirmed the death of one of the tourists, although it said it has no report of kidnapping or disappearance. According to the Prosecutor's Office, the group consisted of 13-14 people, some of whom had known each other for a long time, while others knew each other only by name or nickname.

The starting point of the tourist route known as "Vallartazo" was the León-Lagos de Moreno highway. The young people, among whom were small-time businessmen, left this place on board RZR-type ATVs, pickups with trailers, and off-road vans.

The first destination they reached was Ameca, a town in Jalisco. From there they continued to Mixtlan, then to the magic town of Mascota, and then to San Sebastian del Oeste. In all these places they made stops along the way to check the vehicles, rest, and have a meal. Around four o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, July 18, they arrived in Puerto Vallarta, although they did not all arrive together.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the group was divided in two. One arrived at Boca de Tomates beach, where they made another stop to get food. And the other group, made up of the off-road vehicles, went for a ride on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk. Once there, they contacted the group that was on Boca Tomates beach. They met again and went to look for the lodging they had already hired for their stay in Vallarta.

And then, when they were driving along Avenida Fluvial, near the intersection with Avenida Grandes Lagos, in the Fluvial Vallarta subdivision that is a few meters from the sea, another convoy of vehicles "unexpectedly" closed them off and "chaos began".

("The young people") try to flee. Then, a shoot-out occurs and a person is injured on the spot. Others manage to flee on foot, and others in the vehicle, and then the municipal police authorities and elements of the Public Prosecutor's Office arrive," Jalisco prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solis said in a conference.

Shortly afterward, the injured vacationer died in a hospital as a result of the bullet impacts he suffered, confirmed the Public Prosecutor's Office. The victim is apparently a businessman who transports construction materials.

The newspaper Reforma published yesterday that, a week after the events, several of the victims are still kidnapped. But, also yesterday, the Prosecutor's Office assured that they have no reports of missing persons, or kidnapping, for this particular event. And that the Prosecutor's Office of the neighboring state of Guanajuato does not have any reports in this regard either.

"Since that day, we have been working on the search for missing persons and to clarify the murder. But it's important to mention that we have no reports of missing persons," stressed the state prosecutor, who also said there are no reports of assailants holding victims' families to ransom.

For its part, the AM newspaper published yesterday that several of the kidnapped vacationers were already released, but did not file a report. As for who was part of the armed convoy that attacked the tourists, the newspaper Reforma published that the New Generation Jalisco Cartel would be involved in the attack.

The prosecutor's office, for its part, only said it suspected that it was "a highly dangerous criminal cell", but did not offer any further details.

Source: AM Noticias