Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“If there’s anything democratic in Morelos, it’s kidnapping”; Even The 99 Percent Get Kidnapped In Mexico

Once the plutocrats' plague, kidnapping for ransom in Mexico has gone decidedly mass market.

Shopkeepers and family physicians, carpenters and taxi drivers: All have been targeted in recent years as minions of young criminals enter a trade long run by guerrillas and gangland bosses.

That puts Mexico, along with Colombia and Venezuela, among the world's most kidnap-prone countries.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, 16 months into a six-year term, has struggled to meet his promises to dramatically lessen the crime. Both abductions and extortion continue to soar even as his government’s campaign against crime syndicates impacts drug profits and gang discipline weakens as kingpins are killed or captured.

Many wealthy Mexicans have long hired bodyguards and taken other security precautions, making them harder to get. The typical profile of kidnappers, meanwhile, is becoming younger and less sophisticated — more willing to favor quick paydays over substantial ones.
Edgar Jimenez Lugo, alias "El Ponchis" or "El Niño Sicario" started his criminal career  in Morelos with his first murder at age 11.
That’s making Mexico’s middle class, and even the working poor, the criminals’ targets of choice.

Ransom demands here in Morelos, a small state just south of the capital Mexico City that by some counts tops the nation in kidnappings, have ranged from $13,000 to as low as $250, according to the state police. 

At such prices just about anyone can afford to be snatched.

“If there’s anything democratic in Morelos, it’s kidnapping,” says Gerardo Becerra, 56, a businessman who is leading a citizens’ anti-crime protest movement in Cuernavaca, the state capital once revered for its eternal spring-like weather and now known for insecurity. “It hits everyone equally.”

Becerra’s group is demanding the resignation of Gov. Graco Ramirez, who took office 18 months ago after campaigning on a vow to attack crime, particularly kidnapping. The group hopes to force a recall election in the fall, which if successful, would be Mexico’s first such removal of a governor by popular vote.

Some 1,700 kidnappings were reported across Mexico in 2013, nearly 10 percent of them in Morelos. Another 278 abductions were reported nationwide and 34 in Morelos in the first two months of this year, according to the government.

Analysts say as few as 1 in 5 abductions are ever reported, in part because victims’ families fear police agents are involved with the gangs.

2 Police Officers Who Watched But Did Nothing To Stop The Kidnapping Of 2 Men In the Above Photos.
Trust is particularly scarce in Morelos, which in the past three decades has been used as the base for a succession of Mexico’s more powerful crime lords. A chief of the state’s anti-kidnapping squad was arrested for leading a kidnapping ring in the late 1990s.

“People feel they are living in lawless communities,” says Adriana Pineda, 39, the new chief of 
Morelos’ 60-member anti-kidnapping squad, which is partly funded by the US Agency for International Development and trained by the FBI and police from Colombia, Israel and elsewhere.

“How do you build confidence?” she asks.

A former state prosecutor who worked for Mexico’s equivalent of the CIA before returning to  Morelos, Pineda says she focuses on instilling professional pride among her unit’s detectives, whose pay starts at less than $600 a month. Pineda deals with victims’ families directly, she says, because of the low public confidence in her agents.

Investigations and ransom negotiations frequently become complicated because victims are targeted by family members and acquaintances, Pineda says. Victims in such cases often are killed because they can identify their captors.

Relatives in December paid ransom consisting of about $4,000, and work tools, for a young carpenter kidnapped after being lured by a request for a construction estimate. The man’s teenage abductors killed him anyway.

At least seven people were kidnapped last December, and six of them murdered, in Yautepec, a farming center about 20 miles from Cuernavaca that’s expanding quickly with new middle-class neighborhoods and the weekend homes of Mexico City families. Another 20 people were abducted in the community in the first two months of this year.

“Those in the small towns know who the criminals are but are afraid to say anything,” Pineda says. “No one reports them.”

While kidnappings are hitting particularly hard now, Morelos has been wracked by organized crime for decades. The Beltran Leyva crime family made Cuernavaca its base a decade ago. After marines killed family patriarch Arturo in the city in late 2009, his lieutenants destroyed one another in a bloody war to take over from him.

Today, the remnants of those lieutenants’ gangs carry out many of the kidnappings, joined by newcomers who trade low-wage jobs for easier criminal profits.

“They’re the cartels of window washers and brick layers,” says Becerra, the anti-crime activist.
Becerra’s group claims that Gov. Ramirez and his police have failed miserably — either from “stupidity or complicity” in their efforts to end the crime wave and must go.

Ramirez, who is the state’s first governor from the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, says the complaints are politically motivated. He argues that he inherited the crime plague from predecessors who cut deals with gang bosses, giving them free rein.

Amid the federal government’s seven-year crackdown against wholesale drug trafficking and street-level sales, the gangs’ foot soldiers have increasingly preyed on citizens, too often with the help of local police, he says. That’s created an outsize public “psychosis” about “kidnapping, kidnapping, kidnapping, kidnapping,” Ramirez told the newspaper Reforma.

The governor argues that his revamped state police forces have reduced kidnapping and other crimes in the past two months.

“I assume my responsibility,” Ramirez said. “I am going to defeat kidnapping.


  1. Even less trust for white,, no linda

  2. Sounds like this corrupt state needs some AD's, Michoacán style.

  3. If you look at the map of Mexico, the state of Morelos is in between the state of Mexico/Mexico D.F., Mexico's 2 largest markets and the state of Guerrero who's main city is the tourist mecca of Acapulco - a very important market. That makes Morelos an important corridor tthat serves to traffic drugs between the previously mentioned entities. To have the government of Mx. to severly hamper the drug trafficking efforts of organized crime would cost the cartels desperately needed funds to run operations; thus, forcing their cartel members to find other sources of income such as kidnapping. The inept and corrupted Morelos police are no answer to the rash of kidnappings that grips the state of Moreles either. With the arrival of a new governor from the PRD in the state of Morelos, maybe an overhaul of the police agencies and a change of culture can reduce kidnappings in the entity. Either that or a strong kingpin to emerge and restore order and respect in organized crime while putting Morelos on lockdown - just like El Jefe de Jefes had it.

  4. failed corrupt ass mexican gov. How can AD in michoacan manage to clean up communities, yet the mexican feds cant?

  5. Just food for taught,how about making the death penalty legal for kidnappers.If the politicians vote for a law making the death penalty as punishment for a lot of those crimes mexico would be so much better.Im sorry,let me correct myself,most of the politicos,including pene nieto are on the receiving end of the large ransoms....oh well so much for my idea....

  6. Dr Mireles and the autodefensas will run the cartels out.

  7. Kidnapping
    I am from the U.S. & live in Puerto Vallarta. Here are a few facts about kidnapping & extortion here in the Puerto Vallarta area. Since October 2013, there have been many kidnappings for extortion reported in the local Mexican newspapers, mostly Mexican citizens, but a few Americans & Canadians have also been victims. Some of of the victims were beaten & tortured. There is an ant-kidnapping unit here, & in conjunction with other law enforcement have arrested 40+ kidnappers who work in teams since October. Many of the kidnappers are involved with the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) religion. February in one incident, a 16 year old boy, who is a High School student, was kidnapped by a group of 6 kidnappers in ages from 20-30 years old. They demanded $100,000 U.S. dollars. When caught, they were in possession of a loaded Uzi machine gun, and statues of & other items related to Santa Muerte. The boy was rescued unharmed. The penalty for kidnapping in Mexico has been raised to 30+ years. The president of Mexico has appointed an anti-kidnapping Czar, who stated that kidnapping in Mexico is a National Emergency. An Independent think tank has estimated that there were 105,000 kidnappings in Mexico in 2012, with 2013 higher, & 2014 will be higher yet. The U.S. State Department said that about 70 U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Mexico in 2013. The kidnappers are not specifically targeting foreigners, but there is always that BUT!! It is a beautiful country & most of the people here are nice & honest, but be careful & maintain a good situational awareness if you visit here. Tourists are rarely targeted here for kidnapping.

  8. el tigre leyzaola moved to morelos state recently?
    bertie boy moreira has been living in morelos atate recently?
    the policia federal corrupt agents are operating there?
    has anybody investigated te criminal records of the police organizations chiefs who usually carry A WHOLE LOT OF BAGGAGE to their positions along with kidnapping and extortion skills, and a penchant for extorting kickbacks from their police agents?
    scientists say that 90% of the problems are caused by 10% of the people involved, and catching them would be easy, 10% of the most powerful people in charge are easy to find, in their offices at the governmental institutions, they would not pass the trust and confidence examinations, and starting with the bosses and supervisors would fix a lot of the problems in a jiffy.
    of course, the commissioner of the policia nazi-onal, enrique francisco galindo ceballos, who did not pass the examinations two times in San Luis Potosi as SSP del estado chief, and passed all the officers that failed the examinations upon getting his new nacional mandate from el puñetas pena nieto would have to be investigated first, which is not likely to happen...
    also the heirs of genaro garcia luna are too busy following his example and school of illicit enrichment, while he laughs his ass off enjoying his golden retirement, in florida, a millionaire, protected by the US government, with other rich US criminals as associates.
    genaro garcia luna's godfather, carlos slim helu, must be so very proud of his protegé, a kidnapper, extortionist, torturer, murderer and fabricator of falsely convicted criminals who confessed under duress to whatever charges garcia luna and his criminal bands of fake police leveled against them.
    stealing the leftovers of the mierda accords was not enough for genaro garcia luna, luckily the US do not have to extradict his ass to the US, problem is, the US is protecting him and his money, under orders of the richest man in the world, CARLOS SLIM HELU, the godfather of mexican criminals...

  9. I was in Morelos last fall, beautiful state and stayed in Tepoztlan and generally felt safe the whole time. However I remember talking to some young kids saying don't go out at night or you'll get kidnapped or robbed. I think the most tense part was taking a taxi to Cuernavaca at 5am through rural roads, it was eerily reassuring to see police patrols through the city center but as soon as we got on those roads, the short 40 minute drive felt like hours.

    Interestingly I think Tepoztlan is safer since they have a fairly tight community and even sacked their police chief a while back.

  10. what kind of estupido goes to mexico voluntarily?
    leave that for innocent americans from the US, who may have the money for the ransom, while they'll still get murdered, then your families will be driven crazy paying left and right for spurious investigations, and if lucky, will be handed a burnt dog in lieu of your ashes...

  11. Sam Giancanna, from the chicago outfit, must have left a nice criminal organization in place when he lived in cuernavaca morelos, before he returned to chekaga, to get murdered.
    after passing the iniciation protocols and going to jail, some people went on to work on their own jarritos distributorships, owned by CARLOS SLIM HELU, surprise! the most corrupt of all the chilango pickpockets keeps appearing with his two fingering pickpocket fingers all over the place...
    must be the arab-lebanese greed component, combined with the chilango, nobody can beat them.


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