Mexican authorities arrest 3 in disappearance case

Mexico City, Jun 25 (EFE).- Three people, including a suspected gang leader, were arrested in connection with the disappearance last month of 12 young people from a Mexico City bar, Federal District Attorney Rodolfo Rios said.

A judge has agreed to allow prosecutors to hold the three suspects in preventive arrest while they build their case, Rios said.

The judge ruled that the suspects can be held in preventive detention for 30 days, allowing prosecutors to gather more evidence against them, the DA said.

One of the suspects, identified only as "El Ostion," is suspected of being the No. 2 leader of the La Union gang.

The 12 young people were led away from the Heaven bar in Mexico City's popular Zona Rosa tourist district by masked gunmen on May 26.

No traces of the victims have been found since their disappearance.

La Union is a gang that runs extortion rackets targeting merchants in the poor Tepito neighborhood, where the victims lived.

The three suspects are being questioned by investigators, but none of them match the descriptions of the subjects involved in the mass kidnapping, Rios said.

The Citizens Public Safety Council, meanwhile, announced it was offering a reward of 10 million pesos ($750,000) for information about the whereabouts of the 12 victims.

The victims, who were employed and liked to spend time at the bar, were led away from the establishment to waiting SUVs by men dressed in black who identified themselves as police officers, relatives said.

The victims are from Tepito, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico City and a center for sales of pirated goods.

One of the missing youths is Jerry Ortiz Ponce, a 16-year-old boy whose jailed father, Jorge Ortiz Reyes, is one of the leaders of the La Union gang, media reports said.

Ortiz Reyes is still running the criminal organization from prison, media reports said.

A rival gang may have staged the kidnapping to settle a score with La Union following the killing of a drug dealer in Mexico City two days before the youths disappeared, press reports said.