The infamous Jalisco cartel has kidnapped a colonel who commanded a detachment in the gang-infested northern border city of Nuevo Laredo on Friday, while on vacation. The Mexican army reported the kidnapping took place farther south in the state of Jalisco, the cartel's home territory. The incident marked the second time in less than a month that an officer of the army has been targeted and attacked by cartels.

According to Associated Press, Col. José Isidro Grimaldo Muñoz was vacationing at a rural cabin in the town of Tapalpa, Jalisco, when armed members of the cartel abducted him after a traffic incident. Gen. Crisóforo Martínez Parra of the Mexican army said in a statement, the colonel was ambushed by a group of armed individuals in two vehicles who violently forced him out and took him to an unknown location.

The army said Grimaldo Muñoz had a good professional record and served with distinction while stationed in the gang-dominated city of Nuevo Laredo, which is home to the Northeast cartel also said to be an offshoot of the old Zetas cartel. It remains unconfirmed whether the Northeast cartel had a hand in the colonel’s kidnapping, or if the Jalisco cartel knew the colonel was staying in their hometown when they abducted him, the Defense Department said.

In November, cartels targeted another army officer who served in Mexico’s national guard. Gen. José Urzúa Padilla was killed in a shootout in the north-central state of Zacatecas. The general was the top official of the guard stationed in the state and was killed while in pursuit of a suspected gunman for the local cartel in the area where rival gangs, Jalisco and the Sinaloa cartels, have been engaged in a turf war.

The U.S. Department of Justice considers the Jalisco cartel to be among the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world. Its leader Nemesio Oseguera, also known as ”El Mencho”, is among the most sought-after drug kingpins by Mexican and U.S. authorities. The Jalisco cartel is reportedly the driving force of the fentanyl trade within the U.S., an opioid that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans.

Members of a special unit of the Mexican Army
Members of a special unit of the Mexican Army leave a military zone to patrol as part of an operation to increase security after cartel gunmen clashed with federal forces in Culiacan. Photo by: Reuters/Stringer

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