Mexico City – Army troops rescued 11 people from different countries being held at a house in Reynosa, a border city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, and arrested two suspects, the Defense Secretariat said.
The soldiers, who belong to the 8th Military Zone and were participating in "Operation Northeast" in Tamaulipas, received an anonymous tip on Sept. 28 that several people were being held hostage in the Riveras del Rancho Grande section of Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas, the secretariat said.
Four women and seven men "of different nationalities" were found at the house, the secretariat said, without identifying the countries of origin of the victims.
The soldiers also seized two vehicles during the operation, the secretariat said.
The suspects and the kidnapping victims were all turned over to federal prosecutors.
The secretariat thanked "citizens for their support in reporting criminal activities in an anonymous and totally confidential manner."
Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo León state have been rocked by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The violence intensified in the two border states after the appearance in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León, in early 2010 of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels against Los Zetas.
The Gulf cartel has a large presence in Reynosa, while Los Zetas controls large sections of Nuevo Laredo, officials say.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
Tamaulipas, according to official figures, had a homicide rate of 30 per 100,000 residents in 2010.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderón declared war on the country's cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.