A NEW true crime documentary from Netflix premiered Thursday surrounding the case of Florence Cassez and her boyfriend Israel Vallarta.
Called A Kidnapping Scandal: The Florence Cassez Affair, the streaming documentary follows the notorious case of the French woman who helped her boyfriend run a kidnapping ring in Mexico.
Meeting in Mexico
On a 2003 trip to Mexico, Cassez met Vallarta through her brother.
The relationship was reported by friends to be problematic from its start, according to the New York Times
After a quick split, the couple moved in together in 2005.
Cassez joined Vallarta living on his ranch south of Mexico City.
The Strange Raid
In December of 2005, Vallarta and Cassez were driving down a highway when authorities flagged their vehicle and took them into custody for arrest.
Instead of remaining in jail, the couple was brought back to the ranch.
Cassez and Vallarta were then arrested publicly in a televised raid of the ranch, where FBI rescued three people on air who were supposedly kidnapping victims.
Cassez and Vallarta stood accused of running Los Zodiacos, a notorious gang of kidnappers.
The Mexican government allegedly admitted to staging the raid in order to quell concerns from citizens about growing kidnappings, according to The Guardian.
Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said in a 2006 news conference: “All we tried to do was serve you, the media.
That and show the public that there is an institution that is working for them, that has successes and that arrests people.”
Television Azteca and Televisa both had reporters that were involved in the scandals.
In her defense, Cassez has long asserted that she was taken into custody the day before the raid, and taken back to the ranch after being kept in a police vehicle overnight.
Authorities said that the pair were holding a mother and her son, 11, in the farmhouse.
Another young man was also supposedly held on the property, The Guardian reported.
The Mexican government accepted part of her story, but they are still holding strict about her illegal status in the country.
Mastermind or Victim?
The case’s staying power can be attributed to its split verdict.
Both public opinion and the courts can’t seem to pin her down as a conniving participant of Los Zodiacas.
Her arrest created tension between the French and Mexican justice systems.
French judicial believed their citizen was being scapegoated, and that her arrest was unconstitiutional.
In 2013, Cassez’s plea was finally granted, and she was allowed to make a flight from Mexico back to France.
Then-president of France Francois Holland said: “Her current legal status in that regard is as though no case had ever been brought against her: she is considered neither guilty nor innocent.
“Rather, the case was thrown out because of a series of breaches of her legal and human rights.”
A Kidnapping Scandal: The Florence Cassez Affair is now streaming on Netflix.