• warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/includes/theme.inc on line 171.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
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314349.1303

MEXICO CITY — An American security consultant who is an expert on kidnapping and has helped negotiate the release of scores of kidnap victims in Latin America over the years was himself kidnapped last week in northern Mexico after delivering a seminar there on how to avoid that fate, according to officials and published reports.

The FBI, which investigates the abductions of American citizens overseas, and Mexican law enforcement officials are investigating the abduction, which took place last Wednesday evening in the relatively calm city of Saltillo in the northern border state of Coahuila.

The consultant, Felix Batista, 55, was in Saltillo offering security seminars for area business owners when he was abducted by a group of armed men. He had arrived on Dec. 6 and had given his two seminars on Dec. 8 and 9, the local press reported. He had met with police officials on the morning of Dec. 10, local newspapers said.

Later that day, Mr. Batista had been in a restaurant in the northern part of the city when he received a telephone call that led him to get up and leave. That is when the group of armed men took him way, officials and local newspapers said.

Mr. Batista works as a security consultant for ASI Global, a security company that operates a 24-hour hotline that aids clients with, among other things, kidnap response. He was in Mexico on private business at the time he was abducted, Charlie LeBlanc, president of ASI Global, said in a telephone interview.

“We’re still gathering information on what occurred,” Mr. LeBlanc said, confirming that Mr. Batista had been kidnapped but declining to comment on whether a ransom demand had been made.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Mr. LeBlanc added: “ASI and Felix’s family are working with friends and associates of Felix, and the appropriate authorities to secure his release.” The statement added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Felix and his family at this time.”

Coahuila has not been among the most violent places in Mexico, which is in the midst of a surge in violence, much of it associated with drug traffickers moving narcotics to the United States. But the state, which abuts Texas, has not been immune either. Lawmakers from the state recently sent a bill to Mexico’s Congress asking for a change in the constitution to allow the death penalty for kidnappers who kill captives.

Mr. Batista was frequently quoted by journalists writing about Mexico’s growing insecurity and offered frequent seminars to wealthy Mexicans who feared they were abduction targets.

At a private security conference held in Tijuana in February, he said that the kidnappings that take place in the north of the country are especially delicate because drug traffickers are frequently involved. He said that those abductions often last the longest and are the most cruel as the kidnappers attempt to extract the maximum ransom.

“The narco-kidnappers are not looking for chump change,” he was quoted as saying in an article published by McClatchy Newspapers in April. “It’s a pretty darn good side business.”

In August, he said on NBC News, “The middle class and the middle upper class are suffering the vast majority of the cases.”

Mr. Batista detailed in an article published this month by Security Management, a trade journal, how he had helped negotiate the ransom of a wealthy Mexican entrepreneur. Before he was called in, the family had given $1 million in ransom to a group of people who claimed to be the kidnappers but actually were not.

Mr. Batista helped persuade the real kidnappers to reduce their ransom demand to $300,000. One of the kidnapped businessman’s daughters had nothing but praise for Mr. Batista’s efforts.

“Felix even cooked for us sometimes,” she said of the family’s ordeal. “It’s important not to lose hope or get depressed, because you need to keep strong to help.”

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