Police & Law Enforcement

Kidnappings And The El Paso Lie

As the El Paso Politics reported, the City of El Paso consistently misreports the number of murders in the city to continue the El Paso lie of the safest city in the nation. Our report showed that the City’s reports about the number of murders is about 20% less than the actual murders committed at the city. However, the number of murders is not the complete picture.

As discussed previously, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program relies on the police department providing accurate information to the FBI. Yet, the City of El Paso is inconsistent on the data it publishes. However more important is that the number of murders do not paint the whole picture.

The FBI asks for the number of murders. It relies on how the El Paso Police Department classifies a crime it investigates. One of the crimes that the police department investigates are kidnappings. The FBI data does not break out the kidnapping data from UCR data collected and the El Paso Police Department does not readily report the number of kidnappings it investigates.

But kidnappings are an important metric to understand the violence rate in El Paso especially if there exists and spillover effect of drug cartel violence.

Several U.S. citizen bodies have been identified in Cd. Juárez. How many of the bodies found in Juárez were killed in El Paso is unknown. How many of the bodies were kidnapped from El Paso and killed in Juárez is difficult to know, but court cases have documented several kidnappings in El Paso that ended up dead in Juárez.

In 2008, court documents documented the case of Miguel Rueda who was kidnapped in El Paso and taken to Juárez. Ricardo Calleros-Godinez picked up Rueda at an El Paso gas station, bound him with duct tape and drove him to Juárez. In another case 2009, Sergio Saucedo was kidnapped from his home in El Paso. Saucedo was later found in Cd. Juárez with his hands chopped off.

In 2016, long-time Thomas Manor Elementary School teacher, Monica Velasco abruptly quit her teaching job and became a federal fugitive after family members were arrested for running the so-called Velasco Criminal Enterprise. Samuel Velasco, Monica’s brother, was found guilty on October 17, 2016 on three counts of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country. In the murder-for-hire scheme, Samuel Velasco hired a killer to kill a woman’s father to force the daughter to attend the funeral in Juárez so that she could be killed.

When the murder plot failed, Velasco ordered the killing the woman’s sister two days later.

There are several other cases of kidnappings in El Paso with the bodies found in Juárez. However, those are just the documented cases. It is unclear how many kidnappings go unreported to El Paso officials that end up with victims murdered in Juárez.

However, there are numerous other criminal cases that are documented as other than murders with the result being dead victims. For example, numerous drug trafficking cases result in lost drugs. Court documents show that the drug cartels usually kill individuals who owe drug money to the cartel.

For example, in the 2008 case of Miguel Rueda, where Rueda was kidnapped in El Paso and taken to Juárez, Rueda was kidnapped because he had a drug debt. Rueda survived the ordeal after he transferred property to the drug cartel to settle his debt.

Without documenting the number of kidnappings in El Paso correlated to murder victims found in Cd. Juárez it is difficult to understand the drug violence spill over in El Paso. It is even more difficult to understand the true scope of the crime index for El Paso.

The City of El Paso minimizes the true scope of crime in the city by under reporting criminal cases and not providing a true picture of the crimes committed in the city.

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