Mexican authorities found Esteban Cruz, a radio host and leader of an indigenous community in Michoacán, who had been reported missing, unharmed and released early Saturday morning, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Cruz, 60, coordinator of the Communal Council of the town of Ocumicho, had been deprived of his liberty since Thursday, allegedly by an armed group, according to local authorities.
“Journalist Esteban Cruz Rosas was released,” The Attorney General’s Office of Michoacán said on its Twitter account. “At this time, the protocols of attention to the victim are carried out and the acts of investigation are continued to clarify the facts.”
After operational action carried out by #FiscalíaMich, @SEDENAmx and @SSeguridad_Mich, during the first minutes of today, the journalist Esteban Cruz Rosas, who was deprived of liberty last Thursday in Tangancícuaro, was released. pic.twitter.com/rQKgGZOCZX
— Attorney General’s Office of Michoacán (@FiscaliaMich) April 30, 2022
The indigenous leader was located by security agents in the municipality of Tangancícuaro as part of an operation carried out by the prosecutor’s office, the local Security Secretariat and military personnel.
“The affected person was medically evaluated to verify his perfect state of health,” the secretariat said.
In the operation, it was possible to arrest three alleged members of a criminal group, as well as the seizure of weapons, explosives, tactical equipment and vehicles, the authority detailed.
According to regional media, Cruz disappeared while in the area dubbed “death row,” known for the presence of criminal gangs vying for control of drug routes in Ocumicho.
The district is in the process of achieving an autonomous form of government — as has already happened with other indigenous communities — in which Cruz has participated.
Michoacan is hit by a wave of violence that includes clashes between rival groups involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
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