A U.S. businessman was kidnapped Friday in southern Honduras, a source in the National Police told the media.

Peter Jackson, who owns a hotel in the northern city of San Pedro Sula and shrimp fisheries in Choluteca, was snatched by armed assailants who intercepted his vehicle on a road in the San Bernardo district.

The two people traveling with Jackson were found tied-up inside the businessman's vehicle about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the scene of the abduction, the police source said.

Honduran police and soldiers are cooperating with the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa in the investigation, the source said.

"The embassy always has a duty toward its own citizens," U.S. Ambassador Lisa Kubiske told reporters in San Pedro Sula.

Persistently high levels of violence in Honduras compel the State Department to maintain the alert issued June 17 warning U.S. citizens about the dangers of traveling to the Central American country, Kubiske said.

Honduras suffered 85.5 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2012, compared with a global median rate of 8.8 murders per 100,000, the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University said in a study released in February.

The number of homicides in Honduras has grown by nearly 233 percent over the past nine years. EFE