MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — Prosecutors in western Mexico say two Spanish men have been found beaten a week after they were reported abducted in the western state of Michoacan.
The state prosecutor's office said the Spaniards had suffered bruises but were not seriously injured. They were being treated at a local hospital Monday in the neighboring state of Guanajuato, after being found by the side of a highway there Sunday.
Jose Sanchez Crespo, spokesman for the Spanish Embassy in Mexico City, said the two men were badly beaten, but were expected to leave the hospital in a day or two. He said he believed the men were from the city of Cuenca, Spain.
Sanchez Crespo said the two men are cousins, and that one lived in Mexico, and the other was visiting him. Assistant state prosecutor Marco Vinicio Aguilera said the men's families say they disappeared outside a store about a week ago. Family members later said that armed, uniformed men later showed up at the hotel where one of the men had been staying, asking about the Spaniards.
Aguilera said the two are "stable, they have some contusions, but they are not serious." The men's names were not released, but the one living in Mexico had a wholesale business dealing in clothing, perfume and other articles. His cousin came to visit over the Christmas holidays.
Businessmen in Michoacan have often been targeted for extortion by the Knights Templar drug gang that dominates illegal activities in the state. But foreigners in Mexico, and especially tourists, have seldom been targeted for kidnapping, extortion and drug violence.
A Michoacan state official familiar with the case but who was not authorized to be quoted by name said the two men had apparently crossed into a rough neighborhood looking to buy marijuana when they were abducted. Sanchez Crespo said the Spanish embassy could not confirm what circumstances led to the men's abduction, noting that it was up to Mexican authorities to investigate.