Star footballer Alan Pulido kidnapped in northeast Mexico
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Federal and state forces mounted an operation Sunday to find kidnapped Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido, who was abducted in the crime-plagued northern border state of Tamaulipas.
The 25-year-old Pulido is a forward for Olympiacos of Greece and was part of Mexico's 2014 World Cup team, though he wasn't called up for the Copa America tournament that starts this coming week.
"We have information that he was intercepted by armed persons and since then his whereabouts are unknown," said state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla.
The Tamaulipas Coordination Group that includes federal and state security agents said on its Twitter account that it was hunting for the player. Reporters in the city saw an unusual deployment of troops and police in the streets, while at least two police or military-style helicopters flew overhead.
A state official earlier said Pulido was kidnapped early Sunday after leaving a party near his hometown of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of a state that has suffered battles between major drug gangs. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss a case under investigation.
Authorities have not given more details about the kidnapping or its motive.
He debuted and played several seasons with the club Tigres of Monterrey, whose Twitter account expressed solidarity with the player's family "in the difficult situation they are experiencing."
Pulido left Tigres in 2014 to play in Europe, though he has been in a dispute with the Mexican club about whether his contract there continues to be valid.
National team coach Carlos Osorio recently said Pulido has the quality to be on the squad, but was left off the Copa America team due to the legal dispute. He had scored three goals in earlier call-ups.
In the most recent season, he scored five times in eight appearances with Olympiacos.