Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Living in Mexico with Virtual Kidnappings

Saturday, October 6, 2012 |

Borderland Beat

                                                    Terror calls the house
Nobody stops the extortions and virtual kidnappings

The fright caused by the deprivation of liberty without asking for ransom favors telephone extortion

The psychosis that has provoked in the collective unconscious the phenomenon of kidnapping,  the kind that doesn't usually ask for ransom since the goal is homicide, is being used as an instrument of blackmail by the extortionists that have found home and cellular telephones are the best weapon to terrorize the population and obligate their victims to pay for a lie.  Riodoce gathered ten stories that warn of  the method in the performance of this crime in Sinaloa.

I.  Tell me compadre

In an office located right in the center of Culiacán, María  answered the telephone with the courtesy obligated by the company, but all changed as she heard the first words from the other end

—Mama, mama, help me please.  They kidnapped me.  I'm scared!  They are going to kill me!

The screams accompanied by crying was heart rendering and was enough to provoke hysteria in Maria who immediately thought of her daughter Leticia.The sobbing got to her and the man who spoke to her even tried to calm her.


—Don't cry señora, Don't be nervous. Do as if you're talking with a compadre .  yes, call me  compadre.

----It's fine compadre, tell me.

—Look the truth is that I spend money, I have a problem but don't worry about the girl, nothing will happen to her if you do what I say

The subject explained to her what she must do. he asked her how much she  had. She said nothing, but that in the bank she had some $3,000 pesos. With that it was enough, said the extortioner

—Look you're going to tell your  work mates that you was going to leave for a moment. You have  do a errand for the supervisor.
---Yes, compadre

Before  doing it, he asked for her cell number to monitor her and he warned her not to hang up. Nervous, Maria dictated the wrong number and a few seconds later the subject was screaming angrily why wasn't she answering her cel phone and that he wasn't playing around. Because it hasn't rung, answered a weeping Maria, who realized she gave him the wrong number and asked a colleague to give it to her. In this lapse, she reached to write on a piece of fax paper  asking her workmate: “Dial the house and ask about Leticia”,  At home, they informed her that Maria's daughter was in the house and automatically Maria hung up the phone.

Her daughter never was kidnapped. The nervous crisis returned. Maria decided to go to her house to see that her daughter was well. The cellular rang time and time again and she not only didn't turn it off but asked her work mates to extinguish it

II. Mama, they kidnapped me!

It was similar case with Delores who they called the house phone

—Mama, mama they kidnapped me
without thinking she immediately hung up. The reason was simple. Her only child was three years old and was with her besides, " the one on the phone sounded like a grown up."

III. $15,000.00

The case where extortion was performed (in) is the case of Sara whom they called to tell her that they kidnapped her son from school
—we want 15,000 pesos
—tell me where and when to take it, said the desperate lady.
The extortionist suggested to her the Cinépolis (de) Culiacán . They met in the parking lot of the commercial plaza she handed the cash that she had withdrawn from the bank and the man told her not to worry.

—The boy is already back in school go get him, he assured.

In reality, the boy never left his classroom.

IV. Colitis

Argelia spent the worst day of her life when she answered the home phone and heard the intimidating voice of a man

—We have your daughters, we kidnapped them from school and we want to negotiate otherwise we will hurt them. In that moment she felt a sharp pain in her stomach, the crying, the nerves, the desperation all together hit her and she became hysterical. A relative asked her what was going on and as much as she was able she informed the relative. who convinced her to hang up and immediately go to the school to check that the girls were there and otherwise go to the police to denounce the crime

Terrorized because the extortioner warned her not to hang up or he would harm her daughter. the women finally followed her relative's advice and arrived at her daughters school. Banging on the door like a crazy woman, and first she saw one of the girls sitting in her chair and then she searched for the other and the  same happened

She suffered a collapse that took her to the hospital where the doctor diagnosed her with colitis caused by the shock

Argelia cancelled her home and cellular phone.

At home, one of the daughters said that the day before that "an uncle" had called asking question which the girl answered.

V. Nobody calls her that

For Refugio, daughter of Irene, the scam of the extortioners didn't work.  They called the mother's house and the only boy of 5 years old answered.

They asked for Irene and the boy said, "No Irene lives here."  The mother took the phone, cause the phrase caught her attention.

— Hello
— Aunt Irene?

— who is it? Refugio says
— Don't you know who I am? they insist

--- then Refugio answered

 — Certainly a scammer because here there is nobody that has that name and she hung up.

Effectively, at home they only know Irene by her nickname, Nena.  And that is how the grandson found out his grandmother's name is Irene.

VI. A courtesy call

Ana a young house wife received a cell phone call and just like that a guy threatened her with kidnapping her and whoever accompanies her at that moment.  the reason? That person had information from her cell phone that a drug seller had been denounced that operated in that area (that) and because of that he was in jail.  The petition was for her to withdraw the denouncement and the problem will end.

Ana didn't panic even decide to even record the conversation because she assures that her husband wouldn't have believe the thing happened to her.  "He says I exaggerate" But this time she wasn't and shared the recording with Riodoce

—Well look before hand this is a courtesy call to make an arrangement with you; Beforehand I don't want to use violence on you or your family and much less I believe that you would much less like me arriving with my gunmen to your house.  I find myself 20-25 minutes from your home.  As I told you I have orders from my boss to arrive at this address, right? and  more over kidnapping any person that is found in the house. As I told you, I gathered some information before getting to your house in which the neighbors are telling you are a pacific person that you don't bother anyone {inaudible video}. I am giving you this courtesy call to get into an agreement with you and to proceed with the withdrawal of the denouncement without the need of kidnapping you, touching you or disrespecting you or anyone in your family. 

—But why are you going to do this when I don't have any problems with anybody?  I don't even know who I'm talking to.

—Look mija (inaudible)...As I told you in the beginning, the problem is that cartel people were reported and beforehand, you know, I don't believe you haven't seen how many killing there have been in all the republic of Mexico every day for reporting people of organized crime, do you follow me. Don't you know how many people die every day or how many people are in the  TV news?  



—Well, the truth is I don't see neither tv or newspaper

—Well mija, beforehand you know how it is (inaudible), I don't think you'd like me to arrive with all my gunmen and have to kidnap you in a van 
with all your family because you are with more people in your house, right? And before hand, don't think you or your family would like us to kidnap you? Would you?

—no, of course not because we're not problematic people

—Well, look then if you don't want to have problems, If you don't want me to arrive with my people to your house, if you don't want me to tie your hands and feet, handcuff your hands, blindfold you and throw you into  van (inaudible), I want you to cooperate and in whatever I ask I want you to answer in a good way.

—But what's your name?

—my name is Cristian Morales mija, I am in charge of the guard, I'm M-16, Hear me

—ah, ok yeah
—I am in charge of the guard for (inaudible), pay attention to what I'm going to tell you.  I want you to tell me one thing and answer it truthfully.  Do you want to cooperate or should I get into your house with my gunmen?

—But why are you threatening me.  I mean what is your point?
—Look  my point is that I have orders from my boss to take you all tied up and force you to withdraw the denouncement: I don't think there is a need to use violence against you because I believe I'm talking to a person who understands and reasons. Do you have your feet on the ground or am I wrong, mija?
—Of course my feet are on the ground.  She hung up

There was no more courtesy phone calls

VII. It's me, your daughter

But not only in Culiacan  this is happening.  In the city Los Mochis, Gabriela also answered the phone and the first thing she heard was the voice of a young lady with fake sobbing, desperately asking for help

—Mom help me they put me into a car
—How? Who is this talking, she asked

—It is me your daughter they put me in a car and immediately they hung up
Gabriela knew immediately what it was about and she thought they would call back again but it didn't happen.  She thinks they gave up because she didn't panic just because her daughters were home playing

VIII. Do you know who I am aunt?
Guasave isn't safe from this type of phone call like the one Consuelo answered, to whom her supposed "nephew" called her home
---Aunt?
—yes, tell me
—Aunt, do you know who I am?  I'm in the highway aunt
—¿Manuel?
—Yes, I  was on the highway coming home but I crashed  and the Federal transit police stopped me.  They won't release me because  a little girl got her skull cracked in the accident and they are taking her to the hospital.  I need money for her to be attended to and $3000 for the Federal Police to release me

The supposed nephew told her that he had personal checks that he would cash in Guasave, and once he arrived, he would get the money back.  She said she didn't have money but she would notify his mother.  He asked her not to do that, so she wouldn't worry, and that he would call back in 20 minutes to give her time to gather the money

Consuelo notified the mother and they told her it wasn't true because Manuel was with them.

The second phone call arrived but she didn't answer

IX.   The big or the small?

Also in Guasave, Alicia was in her house doing domestic chores when the telephone rang

— Hello, is Roberto Higuera home
---  Senior or junior?, She responded

Then the voice that said to be a "commandante" informed her that he had been following Roberto junior, for days, and that if they didn't deposit 25,000 pesos they would kidnap him.  She responded that she didn't have that amount of money and that if they were following him they would surely have already noticed that

The "commandante" got mad, insulted her and yelled at her that she didn't love her son and with that said they were going to kill him

With this he managed to upset her and he gave her one hour to get the money.  The woman panicked and she started to get the money. She went to Elektra and asked for a loan but she was refused

She went to one of her daughter and it was her who said that surely they were extortioners and she should calm down.

More relaxed, she returned home where her son was and didn't  let him out of his room fearing that the telephone threat might be true.

Thought out the afternoon the telephone was ringing insistently.  She didn't answer.

X.  They have my daughter
.
The case of Marina shows how disturbing these phone calls can be.
It was a Sunday and she answered the phone and they said that they had kidnapped her daughter and yes indeed she believed she was listening to her daughter yelling,  "Mom, help me"

—"Silvia?" —  came from her mouth

It was then a man told her what she should do.  He asked her if there was an Oxxo nearby where she could recharge her cellular balance.  She answered no and very angrily he scolded her and threatened that he was going to send her daughter's head to her.  He hung up.

Fear burst. The woman came out running frantically from her house crying even though she could barely speak she managed to yell, "they have my daughter."

Some neighbors helped her.  They dialed her daughter's cellphone and she answered, and they let Marina talk to her daughter so she would calm down;

While still with the neighbors, they called her again.  But she didn't answer and she turned off her phone

The Dilemma

the virtual kidnapping in Mexico became popular in 2001, with the boom of cellulars.  It is telephone extortion and it has been evolving because before they used to use the phone book to obtain information about the victim and now a days they use social networks. The  PGJE has detected that most of the phone calls of this kind are made from inmates in the jails mainly from DF.  This is most common with countries with high insecurity like Mexico, the criminal manages to put fear in the respondents because everyone is aware of kidnappings in everyday life.

In all the tales told to Riodoce one constant was that the facts were not denounced.  The reasons because nobody does anything.  And the Anti-Kidnapping Specialized Unit say that "there are 1000's of cases that they don't pay any attention to.  "They ask for the cell phone" and when regularly it shows "private" in the phone screen-so why bother?" 


How to behave before a telephone extortion

—Keep calm
—Don't give away any information on the phone
—Cut the communication and try to locate the relative
—Try to use caller id and register numbers
—Communicate with the police and denounce it
—Share the experience with family, friends and neighbors
Source: Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios Sobre Inseguridad, A.C. (ICESI).


—In México only 2 out 10 are reported or denounced
Source: Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios Sobre Inseguridad, A.C. (ICESI).

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26 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

On YouTube there are recordings of this. There is one that aledgedly is Z-40 ( in a Guatemalan accent) it's funny because the lady knows its fake and busts the person on the other line.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I would call the police at this point as the police are probably involved or have knowledge. After reading El Sicario Room 164 and learning this man was a police officer in Mexico it is pretty clear that if the police come, it is possible they are the ones who perpetrated the entire incident. To be a police officer today in Mexico for the ones who want to make a difference seems nonexistant.

Anonymous said...

This is also happening in the states. I know of a last whose grandmother was extorted of 3000.

Havana said...

@10:50 Most people don't denounce these crimes which doesn't help stop the situation. It might just give the authorities more cases to do nothing about. Sorry to be so cynical...

Meaning no disrespect to those honest hard working police, knowing the situation, and also reading, Charles Bowden's great book El Sicario Room 164, I probably would not call the authorities.

Anonymous said...

room 164
Intresting documentary....

-ObamaNation-

Anonymous said...

Pretty crazy havanna i had a family memeber who was in tijuana to vist he is also a cop they knew he would bring atleast 5 gs his own family friends gave him up to these malandros and they called his family in the states to deliver the money at this location and to pay 5,000 or they would kill him they were so afriad so one of his brothers dediceds to call him and see if he picks up and it was all lies they didn't even have him kidnaped ask him brother are you okay get the f#^k the outta mexico they just called us they kidnaped you and take another route don't go where you are going if it wasn't for his brother he would have probably been kidnaped -guero7 .....

Anonymous said...

The psychosis that has (been) provoked ...

Anonymous said...

Ah ok, I got it. Lazy people demanding that the ones they target be their Santa Claus.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine that receiving one of these phone calls is traumatic, especially if it's about your child.

One time, my friend received a phony extortion phone call at his work by phony zetas.

He told them to fuck off. lol

(AJ)

Anonymous said...

Most of the calls come from prisons. Prisoners use disposable cell phones, they often get phone or electric bills to use as a source of information. They will extort a bank account number from another prisoner and ask you to deposit money into it. Even though you realize the call maybe false, it still scares the crap out of you, it is a horrible thing to go through.

Anonymous said...

If you terrorize someone just right and they get scared enough, you just won the most important thing in this world over that person : control. And this is what is fundamentally wrong with my beautiful Mexico... the narco shit has frightened everyone to the point of not acting on anything due to fear... something needs to change. I'm not some internet rambo... I live in the real world with the rest of you. But I'm simply pointing out that for some reason, my people in Mexico are taking it up the ass from common low level weak ass criminals when they shouldn't have to. Again, not an internet rambo........ I see lots of paisas getting robbed by black folks and chicano gangster wannabes in apartment complexes and corner stores all over here in Texas; when I can, I do something. But my point is why are they always targeted? There is no hit squad running around down the street here as in mexico, but my paisas have the same mentality as in mexico when they get here.... they are targeted because everybody knows they aren't going to say anything or do anything or at least call the laws to report it........ And its fucking frustrating..................................

M

Anonymous said...

These bastards have called me twice and I call there bluff and hang up.

Anonymous said...

Est le pasó a mi hermana hace un año, recibió una llamada de una chica llorando y diciéndole, Madre, Madre,me secuestraron y tengo miedo, Madre, ayúdame! Mi hermana al principio se alteró, pero después recordó que su hija jamás le ha dicho Madre, ella le dice Mami. Mi hermana colgó el teléfono y localizó a su hija quien estaba bien.

Anonymous said...

Shit there's ain't shit I could do. I guess I'd call the expendables , Naw they would get their asses kicked by the zetas.

Anonymous said...

11:23 AM Oct 6,

I red the entire book right in the town bookstore. It might be available at your local library. Interesting read, especially when the hit-man has decided to get out of the crime business experiences a conversion and turns to God. After he stole from the people he was working for the heat started coming down on him and he had to get out! But the books has no advice for those in trouble, the book is no an advice book.

2:43 PM, I sympathize with you and admire you for opening up and talking to us here about your difficult experience. Because of what's going on in the area you're living in there certain has to be some organization who is monitoring the situation. Call city hall and ask them for advice on the situation you find yourself, have a pen and paper to write on to take notes and record phone numbers.

Also, you have the internet, do a search to find information and some sort of guidance / direction to take to make your situation a better one. There must exist a support group in your area.

Not a bad place to start is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangs_in_the_United_States

http://www.bing.com/search?q=Sreet+Wars+-+Gangs+and+the+Future+of+Violence&form=MOZSBR&pc=MOZI

Tom Hayden home page, you can send him an e.mail and ask for advice:

http://tomhayden.com/

I have his book Street Wars, maybe it's available at your library.
. . . Let us know how you make out

- SenB.

Anonymous said...

whoops, the Tom Hayden link I gave you is the homepage of Tom Hayden the USA politician, forget that link.

If I find anything significant I'll post it

Anonymous said...

Regarding Tom Hayden

In fact, I got the right guy in the first place, Tom Hayden not only wrote the book Street Wars along with other books but he is also a Political Activist. See a write up on him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Hayden

Anonymous said...

@ M 2:43pm I do agree when you say low level, it appears that many "crimes' that are being done in the name of any cartel are really just that low level no one in charge running rampant in the street violence. The mentality that say nothing, hear nothing, say nothing is what keeps this fear going. That is mentioned in the book El Sicario about real cartel and the wannabes. That mayor who was talking to the cartel the other day looked to me very frightened and kept looking around and also to me looked under extreme pressure to say what he said, what would the outcome have been if he had not agreed? I thought I saw a article that he was taken by force into a jungle? anyone else read that? Don't want to go too off topic here but that came to mind reading all this.

Anonymous said...

Since we talking about wanabees,lets talk about the paisas thinking there from a cartel. Here in the U.S., they get drunk, and act like they know Chapo personally; yelling like they got a rooster up the ass.

Anonymous said...

Social engineering gold mine - callers, get smarter and call receivers, please get even smarter.

Anonymous said...

these quick scams can happen to anyone and although prevalent in the border areas, they are also ocurring all over the nation(s). it has evolved from the old smuggled alambrista who provided old info to the coyotes. a few months or years after being smuggled, the smugglers call the number provided and scam out a second or third smuggling fee: "your FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS just came across again (needs bail, was in an accident, was just deported) and needs $$$. send a western union money order to FULANO DE TAL at 011-TE-C#!NGUE." By the time you realize it is a scam, it is too late. Also be careful of what you post on social networking sites. someone can really do some damage with just a little bit of personal info. trucha raza and warn your loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Are you talking about guero7 and siskyou kid? Yeah it really pisses me of when I'm at an event and you see the ignorance of our ppl when they cheer for killers and dope dealers. That why mexico is fucked up. Then they will make excuses like there's np work in Mexico bla bla bs. I've.been here my most of life and never haf to sell drugs or kill. I have two jobs . Most of the males here in mexico are slackers and don't really want to work. Either way chingen a tofa su madre los carteles y sus porristas. Se fue elvis

Anonymous said...

Someone called my 100 year old grandmother claiming to be me, said i needed money to leave mexico. She was too sharp to fall for it ha ha.

Anonymous said...

About a year ago someone called from Mexico to my elderly Mom in a U.S. border toen and said " Tia, soy su sobrino. Esrtoy en el puente y nenecita dinero para pasar". She Hung up on him. Later she found out that several of her elderly neighbor had received similar calls. Someone was targeting the elderly in a small geographic area of a large border city. I doubt that they dialed random numbers across a city of over 500 thousand people and hit up the same street several times. Maybe a gardener gave up a list of former clients.

Anonymous said...

.

I've red the commentaries here, SUCH HONESTY!!


God BLESS YOU ALL For Sharing So Much with the BB Neighborhood Community,

.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,i also have experienced something similar with my great gmother,we were preparing to celebrate her 136 birthday,when some animals called us up and informed us that they had stolen her 90 year old dentures?Do you realize how hard it is ti acquire things like that?Near impossible.
Anyway,gladly she had a second hand spare set,they were only 50 years old and hardly used thank god and his mother.

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