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Some kidnapped workers freed, families say

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  • NEW: Some workers freed, but lost with no money to return home, families say
  • 27 farm workers kidnapped, Mexican authorities say
  • Workers were reported abducted in state of Sinaloa
  • Kidnappers roused victims from sleep at their homes, witnesses say
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From Krupskaia Alis
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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Some of the 27 farm workers kidnapped earlier this week in northwestern Mexico are free, family members told local media Wednesday.

The men called their families to say they don't know where they are and don't have money to get home, family members said.

Authorities were still looking Wednesday for all the kidnapped men as well as the abductors.

No motive has been given in the kidnappings, although authorities have not discounted any link to narcotics traffickers.

Gunmen in at least 20 vehicles descended on the farm workers' homes Monday morning in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, roused them from sleep and drove away with 27 men, witnesses said.

The kidnappers ordered women to remain in a barracks and told them not to call authorities during their roughly 30 minutes at the workers' compound, witnesses and relatives said. Twenty-seven women and 40 children remained behind, the Noroeste newspaper said Wednesday.

Alfredo Bernal, a justice official in Sinaloa, said Wednesday that authorities have interviewed witnesses and are trying to figure out what happened and to find the kidnap victims.

State and federal police told reporters they had no information on the victims' whereabouts. They have not ruled out the involvement of organized crime figures.

The abductions happened in an agricultural field known as "La Guajira," which is near a highway between the cities of Culiacan and El Dorado, in the municipality of Navolato.

The incident stirred fear among farm workers in northwestern Mexico.

They were left to wonder whether the kidnappers targeted the men for a specific reason or whether the abductions signal "the beginning of something that could affect all of us," said Manuel Tarriba, president of the Confederation of Agricultural Associations in Sinaloa.

It's the second mass kidnapping in two months in Mexico.

In September, the bodies of 24 men who had been kidnapped were found in Ocoyoacac, in central Mexico. That case remains under investigation.

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