From Youtuber to kidnapper? Young Mexican arrested for bitcoin ransom

Germán Loera, 23, who used to post motivational videos online, is in prison for the alleged kidnap of 33-year-old lawyer Thania Denisse

Alleged kidnapper Germán Loera.
Alleged kidnapper Germán Loera.

“Are you asking yourself if you are taking the right decisions so that within 10 or 15 years you will get where you really want to be?” That’s how one of the first videos that Germán Loera posted to YouTube begins. A week ago, the recording had barely a thousand views, but by Wednesday of this week it was already up to 26,000. The eyes of Mexico turned to Loera when the public prosecutor in Chihuahua, in the north of Mexico, revealed that the 23-year-old had been arrested for the kidnapping of Thania Denisse, a 33-year-old lawyer. The alleged gang was made up of five men, who had requested the ransom money to be paid in bitcoin. The story of the kidnap soon hit the local and national headlines.

After the arrest, Mexican media revealed that Loera’s father was decapitated in a settling of scores

“According to the investigation, the leader of the gang is Germán Abraham L. A., who has several videos on the internet as a Youtuber,” the public prosecutor revealed in a statement. “The investigations point to him being the intellectual author, the head behind the kidnapping,” EL PAÍS was told by Eduardo Esparza, the security spokesperson in Chihuahua.

Loera, who has no prior record, is currently in pre-trial custody. His messages posted on social networks before his arrest consisted of advice on how to improve your professional and personal life, encouraging his followers to read, travel, surround themselves with positive people, follow innovative ideas and to be themselves. Loera also gave a number of conferences and took part in the World Congress of Young Leaders for Peace, which was held in the State of Mexico at the end of June.

After the arrest, Mexican media revealed that Loera’s father was decapitated at the beginning of February after an apparent score-settling between organized crime groups. The public prosecutor has confirmed that story, but is yet to find a connection between the murder and the kidnapping of Thania Denisse.

The men arrested over the kidnap.
The men arrested over the kidnap.

As for the demand for a payment in bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency in the world, there is only one clue to be found in Loera’s digital footprints: a message he posted on Twitter to the founders of Bitso, which advertises itself as the first exchange for cryptocurrencies in Mexico. “I’d like to speak to you. We are the heads of marketing for the biggest bitcoin casinos in the world,” read the message, which did not elicit a reply.

As the wait begins for Loera and the other four suspects in the case to try to prove their innocence, the comments on social media continue, with users calling him a “liar” and “delinquent,” even calling for him to face “the death penalty,” a punishment that is not used in Mexico.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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