American Kidnapping Negotiator Kidnapped in Mexico

In an ironic turn of events, American kidnapping consultant Felix Batista was abducted outside a posh restaurant called El Principal in Saltillo, Mexico, where he was meeting with business executives and their bodyguards about ways to avoid such crimes.

Batista, who works as a consultant for ASI Global, a Houston-based security firm, was in Mexico to present lectures to area business leaders about kidnapping risks and prevention, according to The Washington Post. On Wednesday he stepped out of his dinner meeting to take a phone call when he was shoved into a white sport-utility vehicle by armed men and driven away.

"This kidnapping is as serious as any other kidnapping in Mexico, where, according to official statistics, two people are kidnapped very day," María Elena Morera, president of Mexicans United Against Crime, said to The Washington Post. However, independent watchdog groups in Mexico estimate that there are as many as 500 kidnappings per month in the country.

The State Department has issued travel alerts for Americans visiting Mexico, urging them to take safety precautions.