Rep. Reyes relative ransomed

Washington Times:

U.S. law enforcement authorities helped facilitate a $32,000 ransom payment in Mexico for a relative of a U.S. congressman who was kidnapped last week by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, a border city with rampant drug smuggling, gunfights and corruption.

Erika Posselt, a Mexican national described only as "a relative of the wife" of Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat and powerful chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was abducted June 19 from an auto glass store she owns in Juarez.

Held for three days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents - at Mr. Reyes' request - helped arrange her safe return.

Saying they would kill Mrs. Posselt if a $500,000 ransom wasn't paid, the kidnappers negotiated with Mrs. Posselt's brother in Juarez and agreed to release her for $32,000 - in U.S. and Mexican currency. According to a confidential ICE memo, Mrs. Posselt was heard yelling in the background on one phone call between her brother and her captors.

The family raised the money, according to the memo. On June 21, two men on a motorcycle collected the ransom money at a Juarez street corner but sped off and eluded investigators who had staked out the drop site.

Mrs. Posselt was released several hours later, and Mexican authorities quickly transferred her to their American counterparts, who rushed her to El Paso, Texas, for "security reasons," according to the ICE memo.

No arrests have been made.

U.S. policy prohibits federal agencies from negotiating with kidnappers in ransom demands for U.S. citizens. It is not clear how the policy pertains to the involvement of U.S. agencies in the kidnapping of noncitizens such as Mr. Reyes' relative. But some law enforcement authorities on Thursday said the Mexican case could have set a dangerous precedent.

...

I think this episode raises questions about Reyes's job as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. If he can be coerced into using US agents to pay a ransom, it suggest he could be coerced into revealing intelligence secrets.

What he has done is help fund the enemy of the Mexican government which uses kidnapping as a sideline in its drug distribution business and to fund its war against the Mexican government. The head of the House Intelligence Committee should not be involved in such activities.

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