U.S. Pays Ransom to Mexican Kidnappers of Democrat Congressman’s Kin

Gotta love the selective ‘we don’t negotiate with kidnappers’ policy.

U.S. law enforcement authorities helped facilitate a $32,000 ransom payment in Mexico for a relative of a U.S. congressman who was kidnapped last week by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, a border city with rampant drug smuggling, gunfights and corruption.

Erika Posselt, a Mexican national described only as “a relative of the wife” of Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat and powerful chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was abducted June 19 from an auto glass store she owns in Juarez.

Held for three days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents – at Mr. Reyes’ request -helped arrange her safe return.

Saying they would kill Mrs. Posselt if a $500,000 ransom wasn’t paid, the kidnappers negotiated with Mrs. Posselt’s brother in Juarez and agreed to release her for $32,000 – in U.S. and Mexican currency. According to a confidential ICE memo, Mrs. Posselt was heard yelling in the background on one phone call between her brother and her captors.

The family raised the money, according to the memo. On June 21, two men on a motorcycle collected the ransom money at a Juarez street corner but sped off and eluded investigators who had staked out the drop site.

Mrs. Posselt was released several hours later, and Mexican authorities quickly transferred her to their American counterparts, who rushed her to El Paso, Texas, for “security reasons,” according to the ICE memo.

No arrests have been made.

U.S. policy prohibits federal agencies from negotiating with kidnappers in ransom demands for U.S. citizens. It is not clear how the policy pertains to the involvement of U.S. agencies in the kidnapping of noncitizens such as Mr. Reyes’ relative. But some law enforcement authorities on Thursday said the Mexican case could have set a dangerous precedent.

……Washington layer Joseph DiGenova, former U.S. attorney in the District, said cross-border law enforcement operations are generally coordinated by the U.S. Attorney General’s office. He called the Reyes case a “bizarre use of U.S. law enforcement resources.

“There is absolutely no fundamental basis for U.S. law enforcement to be involved but for the request of the congressman,” he said. “Not only is it highly unusual, but it raises serious questions.”

Mr. DiGenova said the only reason ICE became involved is because Mr. Reyes is “the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.”

Link: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/27/us-helps-ransom-reyes-kin/

So much for equal application of the law. Federal law enforcement, the very entity sworn to protect U.S. citizens abetted the ransom of a Mexican national, because she’s related to a Congressman. Silvestre should be prosecuted for his violation of U.S. law, right along with those who assisted him from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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