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Mexico lake town besieged by kidnappings is first assignment for new police force

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MEXICO CITY — The first assignment for members of a new police force created to combat crimes affecting industry, farms and businesses is Valle de Bravo, a chic resort town near Mexico City that has seen a recent spate of kidnappings, an official said Tuesday.

Hundreds of members of the new force, known as the gendarmerie, have traveled to the town alongside a pine-rimmed lake.

A federal official said the group of officers is one of several being deployed throughout Mexico. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2014, file photo, officers belonging to Mexico's newest police force, known as the gendarmerie, salute during the launching ceremony for the new force at the Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City. Officials said Tuesday Aug. 27, 2014, that the first assignment for members of the new police force is Valle de Bravo, a chic resort town near Mexico City that has seen a recent spate of kidnappings. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2014, file photo, officers belonging to Mexico's newest police force, known as the gendarmerie, salute during the launching ceremony for the new force at the Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City. Officials said Tuesday Aug. 27, 2014, that the first assignment for members of the new police force is Valle de Bravo, a chic resort town near Mexico City that has seen a recent spate of kidnappings. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

In recent weeks, kidnappers have targeted Mexico City residents who keep a second home in the town as well as working class people.

Authorities say the kidnappers are members of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.

The group of officers is part of a special 5,000-strong police force launched last week to combat crime that is strangling commerce in some Mexican regions.

The gendarmerie is made up of fresh recruits whose average age is 28 and who have never served on another police force.

The group sent to Valle de Bravo will join about 600 other federal and Mexico state law enforcement officials, including soldiers and marines, who have recently been sent to the area 90 miles west of Mexico City.

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