Watch CBSN Live

Nationwide Hunt For Kidnapped 6-Year-Old

The grandfather of a kidnapped 6-year-old boy was being sought by Las Vegas investigators because they believe the abduction may be linked to the man's drug dealings with Mexican nationals, authorities said.

The boy, Cole Puffinburger, was abducted from a Las Vegas home Wednesday morning by three men posing as police officers. Police said they believe the men were Mexican drug dealers and that the kidnapping at gunpoint was a "message" to his grandfather, Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer.

"Tinnemeyer has stolen a large sum of money, all proceeds from illegal drug activity," Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said.

Tinnemeyer allegedly stole tens of millions of dollars from a methamphetamine distribution ring, said Officer Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas police spokesman.

Tinnemeyer was last seen in May and reported missing Sept. 11, said Johnson.

In Mexico the violent drug cartels are blamed for an epidemic of kidnappings -- up to 500 a month, more than 3,700 murders so far this year, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker. Now their violence is hitting home in dramatic fashion.

"The borders are for people who are law abiding. Narcotics dealers don't know about the borders, don't care about the borders - never have, never will," former U.S. attorney Charles Labella told Whitaker.

A nationwide Amber Alert remained in effect after two Hispanic men tied up Cole's mother and her boyfriend at their house Wednesday and abducted Cole. Cannito said a third man was believed to be involved.

He said police had "several" other persons of interest in the case, but no suspects in the abduction.

Meanwhile, authorities were looking for Tinnemeyer and his white Dodge pickup with Mississippi license plates, Cannito said.

Authorities also were investigating whether other family members had ties to the drug operation, Johnson said.

"Money is a huge factor, obviously. Drugs are a huge factor," Johnson said. "The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy."

The FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating.

View CBS News In