Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico special agents found dead after cartel kidnapping

Pictures released by the Attorney General's Office of agents Alfonso Hernández (left) and Octavio Martínez Image copyright PGR
Image caption Alfonso Hernández (left) and Octavio Martínez had joined the agency less than a year ago

Forensic experts in Mexico say human remains found last week are those of two special agents kidnapped by armed men earlier this month.

Octavio Martínez and Alfonso Hernández were members of Mexico's Criminal Investigation Agency, a unit created in 2013 to fight organised crime.

A week after their disappearance, they were shown in a video posted on YouTube surrounded by armed men.

They were forced to read a statement critical of their agency at gunpoint.

The armed men appearing in the video are believed to be members of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, although their identity has not been independently verified.

Mexico's Attorney General Raul Cervantes recently declared it the nation's largest criminal organisation and it has been blamed for a series of attacks on Mexican security forces and public officials.

The two agents went missing on 5 February while they were on leave attending a christening in Nayarit state, western Mexico.

Mr Martínez, a 26-year-old lawyer, and Mr Hernández, a 28-year-old criminologist, had joined the agency less than a year ago.

Their bodies were found in a car in the city of Xalisco. So far no one has been arrested in connection with their killing.

Analysts say organised crime is on the rise in Mexico.

The country experienced its most violent year in 2017 with more than 25,000 murders, official figures suggest.

It is the highest annual tally since modern records began. Organised crime accounted for nearly three-quarters of those murders.

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