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In Mexico, disappeared Yellow Pages distributors are found unharmed

August 6, 2011 |  2:59 pm

The latest workers to vanish in a dangerous swath of western Mexico -- five people distributing Yellow Pages directories -- turned up today safe and sound.

Mexican authorities said the Yellow Pages workers, missing since Monday, were freed by unidentified captors, capping a strange series of disappearances in the violence-plagued state of Michoacan. Nine polling workers -- from two separate polling firms -- were freed Wednesday after going missing days before.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who hails from Michoacan, announced via Twitter that the five Yellow Pages workers had been "freed." Michoacan authorities later said the workers showed no signs of harm [link in Spanish], but gave no details on who had held them.

Officials earlier speculated that criminals may have mistakenthe pollsters -- six from the Consulta Mitofsky firm and three from Parametria -- and the Yellow Pages distributors for undercover police agents. Michoacan is a leading drug-trafficking corridor and production hub, and has seen Wild West-like clashes between cartel gunmen and federal authorities.

-- Ken Ellingwood in Mexico City