Two police officials have recently been sentenced for the disappearance. Here’s what happened.
The three Italians disappeared in Mexico on December 31st, 2018. Indeed, a night of celebration turned into a night of mystery and fear.
The beginning of the story
Their names were: Raffaele Russo, his son Antonio, and the nephew Vincenzo Cimmino. Russo worked in Mexico, selling clothes he had bought in Naples. Only five days before the disappearance, the other two joined him to help. The three worked at the town of Tecalitlan, in the state of Jalisco. Or, as locals call, the “land of the narcos.”
But the three Italians weren’t residents. In fact, they were staying at the Fuerte Real hotel, in the town of Ciudad de Guzman. Instead, two of Raffaele’s sons (Francesco and Daniele) already lived in Mexico, although far from their father.
Raffaele was the first one to leave on the 31st. Then, silence. And the other two family members started worrying and they called the two sons. Being too far to act, the two asked Vincenzo and Antonio to go looking for their dad. So, they did. While his phone was dead, the two managed to follow the GPS signal of the rental car. When they reached the final ping, no one was there. They asked around, with no luck.
The couple stopped at a gas station. At this point, a group of police officers approached. They asked the two Italians to follow them. Then, they vanished. And that’s how the story of the Italians disappeared in Mexico began.
Before disappearing, Antonio called his brother Daniele, the one who lived far away. In the audio, he tells him about the police. Furthermore, Daniele received WhatsApp messages. Until the phones died. And all trace was lost. So, the other members of the family started worrying. They called the Tecaltitlan police. Here, the contradictions began.
In fact, at first the local officers said the couple had been arrested. The group was on its way to the office, although they didn’t have any information on Raffaele. However, a second call to the police revealed a different story. This time, investigators denied arresting the couple.
On the other side of the world, the family was waiting for a ransom request. Since that area of Mexico is known for kidnappings and drug trades, they expected a phone call. But it never came. Hence the investigation turned into a cold case.
Italians disappeared in Mexico, the latest chapter
The researches restarted in June 2020. And the investigations finally led to a resolution. Francesco Russo told officers his story, sharing the audio of the phone call and the messages. Thanks to this, investigators found the four officers who stopped the couple at the gas station.
The truth: they sold them to the Càrtel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) cartel. They sold them for 40 euro, almost $50.
Two of the officers have been sentenced, namely Salomon Adrian Ramos Silva and Emilio Martines Garcia. The third one, aka Linda Guadalupe Arroyo, managed to escape from the courthouse. And she’s still loose. While the fourth policeman died in jail under suspicious circumstances.
The sentences haven’t been made official yet. But Life in Italy will follow the latest developments. For another Italian mystery, read about the Italian spy Walter Biot.