Reports show there were nearly 200 kidnappings in 2014 along the United States-Mexico border.
79 of them happened in South Texas.
"They are looking for new ways to make money and kidnapping is one of them," Rich Roth, former security specialist with the U.S. Secret Service, said. Roth has studied kidnappings worldwide.
He said right now criminal organizations are turning to extortion style kidnappings to make up for lost revenue.
"There's a real money drain going on over there and it's for a couple of reasons," Roth said.
One reason may be the enhanced law enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley.
"Drug smuggling is not turning out as profitable right now as it has been in the past," Roth said.
The extortion is not the reason an alleged cartel member called 9-1-1 claiming to have kidnapped a Border Patrol agent.
Although it could be the reason the calls were made to the La Joya Police Department, an agency seizing thousands of pounds of marijuana and intercepting human smuggling attempts.
"It might be because of that, a form of retaliation," La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez said.
Recently there have also been many high profile arrests of cartel leaders.
"You also have the fact that you got people coming up through the ranks and it's just like any other business," Roth said. "They have to find ways to make money."
A FBI spokesperson tells Action 4 during the holidays kidnappers targets mostly undocumented immigrants crossing the border to visit family members.
But many American citizens are doing the same thing.
"Valley agents and law enforcement, a lot of times, have family across the border and the bad guys know this is a temptation that the agents want to go and visit their family," Roth said.
He believes the alleged kidnapping of a federal agent is more a warning of what could come as law enforcement continues to crack down on cartels in South Texas.
If you believe a loved one has been kidnapped in Mexico the FBI encourages you to contact their agency.
90 percent of the time the agency is able to return kidnappings victims home safely.