TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities arrested a leader of an extremist ultra-orthodox Jewish sect in southern Mexico accused of organized crime and human trafficking, state and federal officials said Tuesday.
Officials also said an unspecified number of women and children were removed from the Lev Tahor group’s compound.
The organized crime office of the Attorney General’s Office led the weekend operation in the municipality of Tapachula near Mexico’s border with Guatemala, said a federal official who insisted on speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
A state law enforcement official, who also was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, identified the arrested leader as Menachem Endel Alter of Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Moshe Alter, Endel Alter’s brother, delivered food to about two dozen women and children held at a government shelter. He said authorities had also taken away a 3-month-old baby whose mother was now in the shelter. He said he did not know where the baby was taken.
At the shelter gate, girls and young women wearing long, flowing white hooded robes shouted at officials and banged on the perimeter wall to protest the detentions.
“They are illegally detained,” said Nissan Malka, one of the protesters.
Moshe Alter said another man from the community was also arrested over the weekend, but authorities did not confirm the second arrest. Members of the community identified him as Moshe Joseph Rosner.
Moshe Alter said the trouble stems from what he called a political-religious conflict with former members of Lev Tahor who are trying to dismantle it.
Lev Tahor has had legal problems elsewhere.
Last November, two leaders of the group were convicted of kidnapping and child sexual exploitation crimes in New York. They allgedly kidnapped two children from their mother to return a 14-year-old girl to an illegal sexual relationship with an adult male.
The sect is known to have members in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala and Israel.
The events played out over the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah, which concludes Tuesday at sundown.
Subscribe here for just .08 cents per day to read subscriber content, join the PVDN newsletter, and browse with site ad-free. Support local news.
Trending news on PVDN
- Guadalupe pilgrimages begin in Puerto Vallarta The pilgrimages to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San José began in Puerto Vallarta, which this year expects more than 400 processions during the decade. According to the head of the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San José, Alberto Aldana López, the influx of parishioners is estimated when activities resume…
- Mexico’s minimum wage increased to $10.50 USD for an 8-hour workday Mexico declared a 20% increase in the country’s daily minimum wage Thursday. Starting next year, the basic minimum wage will be 207 pesos, or about $10.50, for an eight-hour day. That’s up from the current level of 172 pesos, or about $8.80 per day. Stubbornly high inflation, however, is expected to eat into that increase.…
- Police officer arrested for the murder of his girlfriend in Puerto Vallarta After months of investigations, the Special Regional Prosecutor’s Office of District VIII, in Jalisco, announced the arrest of a police officer from the State of Mexico who is accused of murdering his girlfriend and fellow police officer while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta.
- The commission of missing persons organized a search to find dozens of missing people in Puerto Vallarta The Commission for the Search for Persons of the State of Jalisco, implemented an operational deployment for three days in the municipality of Puerto Vallarta with dozens of relatives of people who have gone missing in Puerto Vallarta. During Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, various search actions were carried out, with the intention…
- Puerto Vallarta ranks third worldwide in the top 10 global beach destinations that grew tourism in 2022 According to a list of tourist arrivals by air prepared by the firm specializing in data analytics, Forward Keys, and released at the World Travel and Tourism Council ( WTTC ) the Top Ten Global destinations with the highest growth include Puerto Vallarta and two other Mexican destinations. San José del Cabo, in Baja California…