Relative of Mexico striker 'ordered kidnapping'

MEXICO CITY • Mexican authorities on Tuesday arrested a man married to a cousin of national footballer Alan Pulido, accusing the suspect of ordering Pulido's high-profile kidnapping over the weekend.

Osvaldo Velazquez Garcia was wounded and detained in a house in the north-eastern city of Ciudad Victoria after a shoot-out with federal police, said Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla.

Velazquez started shooting after being surrounded. He was hit in the right shoulder and lightly wounded in the neck, but he is out of danger, said Quintanilla.

The 29-year-old Velazquez was identified as the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping by a 38-year-old accomplice, who was arrested on Sunday after Pulido punched him and called the police.

"He's the husband of a cousin of Pulido," Quintanilla said, adding a new twist to a case that has drawn praise following the player's heroics.

The prosecutor identified Velazquez as a member of a criminal organisation linked to drug trafficking, kidnappings and extortion but did not name the group.

Velazquez was present at a party that Pulido attended before he was kidnapped on Saturday. The suspect communicated with the other kidnappers to tell them that the striker, who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, had left the event and the type of car he was driving.

The 25-year-old Pulido, who was part of Mexico's 2014 World Cup team, had left the party with his girlfriend when they were intercepted by four gunmen, who let the woman go.

Authorities say the player was freed after he was left alone with one kidnapper in a two-storey home. He beat up the suspect, took his phone away and called an emergency number.

Police found him within minutes, barely 24 hours after he was kidnapped.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Relative of Mexico striker 'ordered kidnapping''. Print Edition | Subscribe