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Kidnappings expose Mexico City’s dark criminal underbelly

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Eight weeks on, Mexico City police apparently have few good leads into the daylight kidnapping of a dozen young men and women from an after-hours bar a few blocks from both the US Embassy and the metropolitan police headquarters.

The May 26 abductions, which investigators say are linked to a dispute over retail drug sales in the Mexican capital's trendiest nightlife zone, have embarrassed the capital city's mayor and mocked a police force that until now has been praised as one of Mexico's most effective.

They've also given the lie to the widely held belief that Mexico City serves as an oasis from the seven-year wave of criminal violence that's claimed more than 70,000 lives and left 26,000 people missing.

Most of the missing from the May incident hail from Tepito, a gritty neighborhood that’s known as the capital's criminal heart. Two of them, ages 19 and 16, are sons of imprisoned men said to be leading Tepito crime bosses.

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