Child Kidnapping Underscores Importance of Red Ribbon Week

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Sponsored by National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week annual celebration events promoting drug prevention in schools around the nation just ended. Narconon International joined in by giving live presentations to thousands of kids.

Sponsored by National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week annual celebration events promoting drug prevention in schools around the nation just ended. Narconon International joined in by giving live presentations to thousands of kids.

The dramatic story of six-year-old Cole Puffinburger, a child kidnapped by Mexican drug cartel gangsters on Wednesday, October 15th from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, underscores the immediacy and relevance of Red Ribbon Week which began just three days later on Saturday, 18 October, across the United States.

The annual event is held each year the last days of October to commemorate the ultimate, personal sacrifice of an undercover DEA Special Agent, Enrique "Kiki" Camarena who, after working in secret amongst cartel gangsters for four years, was uncovered, tortured and murdered by Mexican drug lords in 1985. Evidence points to doctors being employed by the cartel thugs to keep Camarena alive while he was questioned and tortured, until he finally expired. The tragic incident has been kept alive as a reminder and inspiration to what is at stake in the war against drugs.

In the case of Puffinberger, it was only four days after the six-year-old's kidnapping that Cole was found by an alert bus driver. The boy was discovered wandering down a Las Vegas street, apparently not harmed. Puffinberger is the grandchild of Clemens Timmemeyer who, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, may have stolen millions of dollars from the Mexican drug cartel believed to have been responsible for kidnapping the child to pressure Tennemeyer to turn over the missing money to the cartel.

The Puffinberger story highlights the violence now occurring south of the border and spilling over into the United States as the Mexican drug war rages some 23 years after the torture and brutal murder of Special Agent Enrique Camarena. Recently, the violence for control of the drug business in Latin America has intensified resulting in an estimated 2,500 deaths in the last year alone including the turning up of dozens of decapitated bodies from Tijuana to the Yucatan peninsula in the last several weeks.

The annual celebration of national Red Ribbon Week starts the last week in October, with communities and students across America committing themselves to living drug-free lives. The tragic event of 1985 produced an immediate outpouring of grief, but over time has generated a sense of hope across America.

That hope is being kept alive through the hard work of thousands of Americans -particularly our young people - who participate in Red Ribbon Week events during the last week in October. This tradition is stronger than ever today, as an increasing number of Americans are saying "yes" to a drug-free life.

"A coordinated effort to educate our young people, such the Red Ribbon week campaign every October, is the approach we need to take throughout the year, stated Bobby Wiggins Director of Drug Education at Narconon International, "kids follow the trends, and it's up to us to create the right trend through a positive drug-free message."

Red Ribbon Week is the most far-reaching and well-known drug prevention event in America. The National Family Partnership, which coordinates Red Ribbon activities nationally, estimates that over 80 million Americans participate in Red Ribbon events. Narconon International (http://www.narconon.org) is one of the keynote organizations partaking in Red Ribbon Week activities across America.

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MARCIA POWELL
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