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Rosarito Beach woes worsen as abduction, killing occur before big weekend

April 16, 2009 |  4:54 pm

Mexican soldiers patrol the main drag through Rosarito Beach earlier this year.

***UPDATED AT 8 p.m.: With new information from the mayor's spokesman.

An abduction of a Mexican boy and killing of a security guard who apparently was trying to intervene occurred Wednesday night in Rosarito Beach, and the timing could not have been worse as the Baja California tourist town prepares to greet more than 3,000 visitors who will participate in Saturday's Rosarito to Ensenada Fun Bike Race.

As noted Thursday afternoon by "Tio Honcho," a regular Outposts reader, "A 16-year old boy who was practicing for the bike ride in his neighborhood in Rosarito was kidnapped by a squad of heavily-armed commandos. A police officer in a guard shack who tried to intervene was also kidnapped and his decapitated body was found this morning in the back of a car at K30 on the Scenic Road. The boy is the son of a prominent Rosarito restaurant owner. There is no known drug connections. This was a kidnapping-extortion."

Ron Raposa, speaking on behalf of Mayor Hugo Torres, confirmed the incident. He said the boy, the son of a local business owner, was abducted across the street from his home at 9:45 p.m. "by at least three hooded men armed with automatic weapons." A private security guard also was abducted. His headless body was found today in the same vehicle used during the kidnapping.

Raposa said via email: "Mayor Torres has requested additional federal police to assist in the investigation. The kidnapping appears to be an example of organized crime/drug cartels targeting Mexican businessmen and family members for ransom as an additional revenue source. Some cartel members have turned to this as the Mexican government's crackdown on drugs becomes more and more effective."

It has not been determined whether the abducted boy was in fact practicing for the bike ride, which has a 30-year history with no major instances of crime, promoter Gary Foster said.

-- Pete Thomas

 Photo: Mexican soldiers patrol the main drag through Rosarito Beach earlier this year. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times