Human remains found in 45 bags match the bodies of eight missing call center workers, including 23-year-old American man, who were kidnapped by cartel henchmen in Mexico
- The Jalisco State Attorney General’s Office confirmed Tuesday that the remains of eight missing call center workers were in 45 bags recovered May 31
- Among the victims are Arizona native, 23-year-old Carlos Valladolid, and his sister, 27-year-old Itzel Valladolid, who was born in Mexico
- U.S. and Mexican officials have said the call center was operated by members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel
Eight workers, including an American man, have been confirmed dead after a forensic team analyzed human remains found in 45 bags that were dumped in western Mexico, the Jalisco State Attorney General’s Office said.
The victims, including 23-year-old Carlos Valladolid, were kidnapped from two call centers in the Jalisco municipality of Zapopan between May 20 and 22.
The clandestine call center was operated by alleged members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. United States and Mexico officials have confirmed it targeted Canadians and American as a part of a timeshare scam.
The workers were reported missing by their families after they failed to return to work from their shifts.
The remains were found at the bottom of a ravine located between the Zapopan neighborhoods of Mirador Escondido and Potrero de La Coronilla on May 31.
Carlos Valladolid is among the eight workers who were confirmed dead Tuesday. The 23-year-old Arizona, his sister and coworkers went missing between May 20 and 22 in Zapopan, a city in the western state of Jalisco
The remains of eight call center workers were found at the bottom of a ravine located between the Zapopan neighborhoods of Mirador Escondido and Potrero de La Coronilla on May 31
Carlos Valladolid; his sister, Mexican national Itzel Valladolid, 27; Arturo Robles, 30; Carlos García, 31; Jorge Moreno, 28; Juan Estrada, 30; and Jesús Salazar, 37 all worked at a call center located in the Zapopan neighborhood of Jardines Vallarta.
Mayra Velázquez, 29, was based in a call center less than a mile away in the La Estancia neighborhood. She was investigated for fraud in 2016.
Carlos Valladolid moved eight months ago to Mexico to live at the family home in the municipality of El Arenal.
He and his sister traveled together to the call center the morning of May 22 and never made it back to their residence. They were reported missing by their mother, Elizabeth Hernández.
The workers were mostly likely targeted by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel because they were planning to quit their jobs, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
‘Best guess is these kids had decided they wanted out of the business,’ the U.S. official said.
They added that the criminal organization was ‘sending a message to other defectors’ and that ‘it appears this has happened before.’
Itzel Valladolid and her brother, Arizona native Carlos Valladolid, reportedly worked for a call center that targeted elderly people from the United States and Canada with the sale and rental of time shares. Their call center was operated by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel
A helicopter extracts bags filled with human remains from the bottom of a ravine in the western Mexico state of Jalisco on May 31
In April, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned six members and associates of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, including high-ranking leader Eduardo Pardo, for running a similar scam in the Pacific resort town of Puerto Vallarta, also in Jalisco.
The FBI revealed in March that the transnational cartel had scammed about 600 individuals out of $39.6 million through fraudulently selling or renting their time shares in 2022.
Scammers reached out to their victims via email to inform them that they had a prospective buyer. The victims were instructed that they were required to pay taxes or other fees in order for the transaction to proceed. The deals would then be cancelled once the money was paid.
Most of the victims were elderly individuals who lost their life saving, according to Brian E. Nelson, the U.S. under secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.