Held in a Mexican prison since 2013, U.S. resident Nestora Salgado has been accused of committing around 50 kidnappings.
Accused of charging up to 50 million Mexican pesos (around $3000) in order to release those held captive, Nestora now finds herself at the center of a complicated media storm.
“We were like tortilla and beans, 70 people held in a small room, there wasn’t a toilet and we had to drink rainwater until the Federal police and the army rescued us on August 21 (2013).” Eugenio Sánchez González, held for two months with a 50 million peso price tag comments.
Held in solitary confinement for almost two years, Nestora’s husband José and daughter Grisel have launched a U.S. state department backed campaign for her release.
In what has been termed a case of “political prisoners” by Guerrero State Governor Rogelio Ortega, Nestora was working as a security agent when she was detained.
Known as “La Comandanta” Nestora was the first women to head a community vigilante force.
Now recognized under Mexican law, state security patrols started during the 1990s. The state government now provides the units with arms, uniforms and trucks.
But corruption claims and untoward politics have seen citizens’ lose faith in this new arm of Mexican law.
And what of Nestora?
Unable to talk with her family for the past two months and with her lawyer a public mystery, irregularities in Nestora’s case have reached the attention of human rights activists, the BBC reports.
Certainly as Nestora was allegedly captured by the military.
“I’m tired, this smells rotten to me. I don’t know what they want to achieve. Perhaps they want to make me go mad.” She commented.
The case has even reached the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (CIDH) who visited Mexico to hear victims’ witness statements.
For President of Alto al Secuestro Isabel Miranda de Wallace, a Mexican association established in 2012 following the kidnapping of Isabel’s son Hugo Alberto Wallace in 2005, the case should remain in the hands of the law.
“We don’t know if she is guilty or innocent, and it’s not up to us to say.”
For now Nestora looks set to stay in solitary confinement as the mystery surrounding her case continues.
So too does the debate surrounding Nestora: a brave woman leading the way in a male-dominated profession or yet another case of unsolved Mexican corruption?
The judge will have to decide.