Border beat: NAU professor released; Nogales cocaine seizure

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A professor from Northern Arizona University kidnapped in Mexico has been released.

It happened in the border city Juarez.

She was freed after less than 24 hours and is now safe.

Authorities in Mexico say gunmen kidnapped a Northern Arizona University professor in a Juarez neighborhood as she was getting into a vehicle.

Professor Veronica Perez Rodriguez was visiting relatives in Juarez when she was abducted.

It happened Friday morning.  Less than 24 hours later she was released.

It could have been what's known as an express kidnapping where gunmen hold the victim for a short period of time and force the person to withdraw the maximum amount of cash allowed from an ATM.  In Juarez though, kidnappings for ransom are more common.

We don't know exactly what happened.  Fear keeps many victims and their relatives from talking about the crime.  Often, families are reluctant to seek help from police in Mexico or in the case of U.S. citizens, even report the kidnapping to the FBI.

And Border Patrol working with K9 units discovered nearly $1.5 million worth of cocaine at the I-19 checkpoint in Nogales.

The vehicle had a trap door in the gas tank with 19 packages of the drug bundled up inside.

The driver is in custody.