Cartel-related violence has moved well beyond American border towns.
How violence from Mexico's drug trade affects the U.S.
As Manuel exited the Radio Shack in Phoenix with his family one afternoon last month, a group of Hispanic men standing in the parking lot watched him closely. "Do it now, do it now," one said to another in Spanish, according to a witness. One of the men approached Manuel, pointed a revolver at his head and tried to force him into a Ford Expedition parked close by. "Please, I'll get into the car, just don't touch me," Manuel pleaded as he entered the vehicle, his wife told police. Nearby, she said, another man in a Chrysler sedan aimed a rifle or shotgun out the driver's side window. At some point, shots were fired, said witnesses, although apparently no one was hit. Then the vehicles tore off with a screech of tires.
Later that evening, the phone rang. When Manuel's wife picked up, a male voice said in Spanish, "Don't call the police," and then played a recording of Manuel saying, "Tell the kids I'm OK." The man said he'd call again, then hung up. Despite the warning, Manuel's wife contacted the cops. In subsequent calls, the kidnappers told her Manuel owed money for drugs, and they demanded $1 million and his Cadillac Escalade as ransom.
When two men later retrieved the Escalade and drove off, the cops chased them and forced them off the road. Both men, illegal immigrants from Mexico, said they'd been paid by a man (who authorities believe has high-level drug connections) to drive the vehicle to Tucson. So far, police say, Manuel hasn't reappeared, and his family has been reluctant to cooperate further with law enforcement. "He's a drug dealer, and he lost a load," says Lt. Lauri Burgett of the Phoenix Police Department's recently created kidnapping squad. "He was probably brought to Mexico to answer for that."
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