Two men with a gun grabbed the 34-year-old from his van and dragged him 50 yards to a waiting SUV. His wife threw rocks at the car, then gave chase in her own SUV. Neighbors in northwest Phoenix called police. Yet when police found her later, she at first denied there was a problem.
Arizona has become the new drug gateway into the United States. Roughly half of all marijuana seized along the U.S.-Mexico border was taken on the state’s 370-mile border with Mexico.
One result is an epidemic of kidnapping that many residents are barely aware of. Indeed, most every other crime here is down. But police received 366 kidnapping-for-ransom reports last year, and 359 in 2007. Police estimate twice that number go unreported.
In September, police spun off a separate detective unit to handle only these smuggling-related kidnappings and home-invasion robberies. Its detectives are now considered among the country’s most expert in those crimes.