The suspected leader of the Los Gitanos kidnapping gang, which operates across Mexico and abducted a number of businessmen, has been arrested, Nuevo Leon state officials said Tuesday. "Aaron Bosquez Montes, alias 'El Chico,' 28, was the leader of the Los Gitanos kidnapping gang and demanded ransoms that ranged from 20 million pesos ($1.5 million) to $4 million," Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina said. Bosquez Montes was arrested on Oct. 3 at the Mexico City international airport, Medina said. Twelve of the 15 members of the criminal organization, which had been collecting ransom payments for three years, have now been arrested, the governor said during an appearance at the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency, or AEI, headquarters. The gang staged at least nine kidnappings in Nuevo Leon, which is located in northern Mexico, reaping more than 52 million pesos (nearly $3.9 million) in ransom payments. Los Gitanos would conduct a "prior study of its victims" before kidnapping them, targeting "middle and upper class" businessmen and professionals, the governor said. The blow against the gang should "help us continue building confidence" among citizens, Medina said. Photographs of Bosquez Montes traveling overseas and recorded telephone conversations were released by officials. Authorities are asking victims of Los Gitanos to contact them and report the crimes. Kidnapping has become a widespread problem in Mexico in recent years, with gangs of different levels of sophistication targeting victims from various strata of society. In October 2010, Congress approved a bill that stiffens the penalties for kidnappers from 25 to 45 years behind bars when the victims are mutilated or if the criminals are retired or active-duty police officers, and from 40 to 70 years in prison if the victims are killed.
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