updated 7/29/2009 3:17:58 PM ET 2009-07-29T19:17:58

Police said Wednesday they captured the last of four brothers accused of kidnapping and killing the daughter of a former federal sports chief, a case that has fueled Mexicans' outrage over crime.

Raul Ortiz was arrested in Mexico City late Tuesday, hours after police captured two of his brothers and two other alleged members of a kidnapping gang known as "The Reds," said Federal Police intelligence coordinator Luis Cardenas.

Another brother — the former driver for the family of 19-year-old Silvia Vargas — was arrested last year.

Ortiz, who has escaped police custody twice since 1996, was one of Mexico's most wanted suspected kidnappers. Federal Police said his gang apparently committed 11 kidnappings.

Paraded in front of reporters, Ortiz denied kidnapping Vargas.

"I never participated in that crime. I don't know anything about it," he said.

Vargas apparently was snatched from her vehicle as she drove to school in Mexico City in September 2007. Her captors initially demanded a ransom, then abruptly stopped making contact.

Huge nationwide protests
With their daughter still missing, the Vargas family went public a year later. It became one of a series of prominent kidnappings that prompted huge nationwide protests. The teenager's body was found in a clandestine grave in December 2008.

Her father, former National Sports Commissioner Nelson Vargas, told Mexican media that he met with one of the brothers, Candido Ortiz, after his capture Tuesday and demanded that that the gang's alleged leader look him in the eye and tell him when he had killed Silvia Vargas.

Candido Ortiz replied she was killed three days after her abduction, well before the captors cut off negotiations for her release, Vargas said.

Vargas has long accused police of mishandling the investigation, saying they should have quickly identified his former driver as the brother of a notorious kidnapping suspect.

Vargas went to police with that information in October 2008 after an unidentified person told him his former driver might belong to a kidnapping gang. Police arrested the driver a month later.

Police efficiency questioned
Federal police also recently announced the arrests of two suspects in another crime that roused outrage: the kidnap and killing of the 14-year-old son of a sporting goods magnate.

Those arrests, however, raised more questions about police efficiency: Federal investigators say one of the suspects confessed to killing Fernando Marti — but said he did not know other suspects arrested a year ago by Mexico City police.

Mexico's government says there are about 97 kidnappings a month, but most go unreported due to widespread fear that police themselves may be involved. The nonprofit Citizens' Institute for Crime Studies estimates the real rate is closer to 500 a month.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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