Kidnapping suspected in case of South Texan missing in Mexico, FBI officials say

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The FBI is asking for help locating Francisco Javier Villarreal, 31, of Laredo, Texas, who went missing on Dec. 11 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, across the Rio Grande. (Courtesy Photo)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The FBI is asking for the public’s help in locating a South Texas man who went missing while visiting relatives just south of the border in Mexico.

Francisco Javier Villarreal, 31, of Laredo, has been missing for a month and was last seen Dec. 11 at a local hotel in the Reforma area of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, FBI officials said Wednesday.

“It is believed he may still be in Mexico and may be the victim of a kidnapping,” FBI officials said in a news release.

Nuevo Laredo, located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, is an area frequently plagued by kidnappings and drug cartel activity. For years, Americans have been cautioned against traveling to the state. The U.S. Department of State currently warns Americans not to travel to Tamaulipas due to increased infection from COVID-19 and kidnappings.

Villarreal is 5-feet-4 -inches tall, weighs 140 pounds, with brown eyes and multiple tattoos on his neck, chest and right forearm. He usually shaves his head and was last seen wearing an all-black athletic tracksuit. He was driving a white 2013 Volkswagon Beetle.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s San Antonio office at 210/225-6741. Anonymous tips are accepted and can also be submitted to the FBI online.

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