There are 106 foreigners missing and not located in Jalisco

Criminals assume foreigners have a high standard of living, says expert

Maika Torres was a 38-year-old publicist and singer born in Ocumare, Venezuela. She resided in Chapala.

Last Friday she was last seen in the Colonia Barrio Guadalupe, in the aforementioned municipality. After a search operation, the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office reported the location of her body.

So far during the current state administration, 160 people of foreign origin have disappeared in Jalisco, of which only 54 were located.

The whereabouts of 106 are unknown, according to the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons.

Economic reason, cause of disappearance of foreigners

The situation of insecurity has reached foreigners in Jalisco who run the risk of being disappeared during their stay in the Entity.

For Rogelio Barba, member of the Analysis Committee on Disappearances of Persons at the University of Guadalajara, one of the main reasons of those who commit disappearances would be economic, pointing out that the victims, mainly North American people, are usually identified as people with high socioeconomic level and, since they cannot take away their assets, they have to disappear.

“The economic one. They are retired people who come and spend their last years in Ajijic, in Puerto Vallarta, in Chapala and their economic level is here, and they are attractive for organized crime.”

“Seeing a person with Caucasian features, with colored eyes, makes people pretend that these people have money. These Canadian or American people associate them with money, so, since they cannot extract the money or that economic good from them, what they do is that they have to disappear them in some way,” said the UdeG researcher.

Although he acknowledged that there may be motives that are associated with other crimes such as causing homicides or human trafficking, the academic considered that one option is to destabilize a territory controlled by a criminal group so that the presence of police and military elements increases.

“It seeks to destabilize a geographic space so that other organizations or prevent infiltrations. What they do is heat the square to keep the members inside cohesive. There can be various messages, various purposes that they intend.”

The academic mentioned that most of the foreign people who have disappeared in Jalisco are of North American origin, whether Canadian or American, which affects the State due to economic issues.

Missing foreigners show an insecure and unpunished State

In Jalisco there are 106 people of foreign origin who remain reported missing so far during the current state administration. This results in the image of the State being eroded and being considered an unsafe and unpunished place due to the lack of punishment for those responsible for the disappearances.

Alejandra Cartagena, an academic at the University Center for Dignity and Justice of Iteso, considered that, despite the fact that some disappearances of foreigners are media cases, the people are still not found or, where appropriate, they are found dead.

“It is an insecure State, where people are disappearing (…) although it is true that they are media cases where in some way the authorities move, we continue to see that they are cases that are either still missing like the case of Peruvians or the Italians or are found like the case of the Venezuelan girl, found dead.”

Rogelio Barba, researcher and member of the Analysis Committee on Disappearance of Persons at the University of Guadalajara, agreed with the position.

“It creates an image of insecurity, of discredit at the national and international level, but above all that there is impunity that permeates all institutions and agencies. The embassies alert their citizens about what types of cities are not recommended to visit (…) this due to the ineffectiveness of the State to prevent, punish, eradicate or deter crime.”

Furthermore, because most of the foreign people who have disappeared in Jalisco are of North American origin, whether Canadian or American, the image is affected because the governments of these countries alert their citizens.

“It looks bad in front of these nations that invest a lot in travel, in tourism, they are commercial economic nations and that economically damages the State,” said Rogelio Barba, researcher at the UdeG.

Only 54 people of foreign origin were located during the current administration.

According to the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons, in the current administration, there are 106 people of foreign origin who were missing in Jalisco between December 6, 2018 and December 4, 2023. Another 54 were located, six of them lifeless.

People from the United States are the ones who have been victims of disappearance the most, with a total of 60: 35 American people remain unaccounted for, while 25 have already been found, one of them dead.

Honduras is the country that follows with 15 reports of disappearance in the current administration: nine people are still missing while six have already been found, although one of them is deceased. 12 people from Guatemala remain missing throughout the State since December 6, 2018.

From Canada, there are five people still missing; Four others were already found alive and one more already dead. There are five Colombians reported missing, another five have already been located, all alive.

From Peru, there are six missing people, including Wilmer García Guzmán, Juan Carlos Tecsi and Mary Lucero Messco, who disappeared in August 2020, in the municipality of Atotonilco el Alto.

Woman found after eight months

The most notorious case was that of Mónica de León Barba, a US citizen who was deprived of her liberty by armed men while she was walking with her dog, an event that occurred on November 29, 2022 in the municipality of Tepatitlán de Morelos.

The FBI released two videos in which it was observed that at least five men were responsible for the disappearance of the North American citizen, which is why they offered up to a $40,000 reward for information leading to her location.

The woman was released by her captors last July, although no detainee involved in her disappearance was reported. However, other cases have not been successful, since citizens from other countries who have been reported missing in Jalisco remain unaccounted for.

The most recent was that of Maika Torres, who disappeared last Friday, December 1, and was found dead in the municipality of Chapala two days later after a search by the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office in that municipality.

As announced yesterday by the Jalisco Prosecutor, Luis Joaquín Méndez, this Tuesday the arrest of a second person was announced, who could probably be related to the disappearance and femicide of the Venezuelan Maika Torres, a case that occurred in Chapala over the past weekend. This is Jaideber R., for whom an arrest warrant was issued and he was presented before the Control Judge. So far the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office has not reported what role this second subject would have played in the young woman’s case. “As was already known, the victim was last seen on December 1 in the municipality of Chapala, so since then intelligence work, operations, search actions and interviews have been carried out,” said the dependency through a statement. He also recalled that, as part of the investigations, various evidence was also seized, including an iPhone, a backpack, a tablet, among other objects. “Jaideber R. was notified of the rights conferred upon him by law and is presumed innocent until a conviction is handed down.”

Source: Informador