5 missing phone book distributors found in Mexico

AP News
Posted: Aug 06, 2011 1:55 PM
5 missing phone book distributors found in Mexico

Five men who went missing while distributing phone directories in western Mexico were found alive in the same area where nine pollsters had been detained and released, authorities said Saturday.

The four men who worked for Mexico's yellow pages directory and their driver are in "perfect health," the Michoacan state Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Federal police patrolling the Apatzingan-Buena Vista Tomatlan highway discovered the five early Saturday morning, said state Attorney General Jesus Montejo Ramirez.

The men had not been beaten or hurt in any way, but they appeared emotionally shaken, the prosecutor said. They were taken to the state capital of Morelia to give statements.

The men were distributing copies of Mexico's yellow pages directory when they disappeared along with their truck. They were last seen Monday near the city of Apatzingan and were reported missing on Thursday, Michoacan authorities said.

The nine polling company workers had also disappeared around Apatzingan, a stronghold of the La Familia and Knights Templar drug cartels.

They were detained between last Saturday and Monday by unknown suspects who asked them what they were doing in the region, authorities and their employers said.

Michoacan is President Felipe Calderon's home state, and the first state to which he sent army troops in late 2006 to fight drug cartels.

The president's sister, former Sen. Luisa Maria Calderon, is running for governor in upcoming elections.

Calderon tweeted Saturday that federal police had informed him that the five kidnapped men had been freed.