American woman faces 1,000 years in Mexican prison over kidnapping accusations

Nestora Salgado is accused of kidnapping dozens of people in Mexico but contends she made legal arrests.

By Fred Lambert

ACAPULCO, Mexico, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A woman with U.S. citizenship is facing up to 1,000 years in a Mexican prison over allegations she kidnapped dozens of people.

Nestora Salgado has been imprisoned in Mexico for 18 months after authorities accused her of kidnapping several people in the state of Guerrero. But the resident of Washington state, who is also indigenous to Mexico, contends she had arrested criminals and a corrupt official based on a law that allows indigenous people to form a police force.


"Even the worst criminal in Mexico right now, like the worst kidnapping people we know, they're facing only 43 years in prison," Salgado's husband, Jose Luis Avila, told KIRO. "But Nestora, an indigenous woman, is facing almost a thousand years in prison."

Avila says the charges against his wife are politically motivated and meant as a message.

After a new prosecutor was assigned to the case, the interim governor of Guerrero asked him to drop the charges against Salgado, but the prosecutor refused.

Demonstrators have protested in Seattle demanding Salgado's release. Her attorney, Mexican national Leonel Rivero Rodriguez, traveled to Washington state to brief Salgado's family on her condition and inform them of the heavy sentence.


"If you do something that is wrong, you should be killed or end up in prison," Avila said. "But when you are working for something that's right, under the law you know, and the next day you are in a maximum-security prison, it's really hard."

The case could take up to five years to resolve and may end up in Mexican Supreme Court.

Prison sentences reaching a millennia in length are not unheard of. In 2013, an Ohio judge sentenced Ariel Castro to life without parole plus 1,000 years in prison for the kidnapping, rape and murder of three women in Cleveland.

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