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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Investigation: Bridge to Fear

Lucio R. Borderland Beat Republished from KRGV-Thank you BB Reader for the Heads-up
Readers I found this in draft, although an older article I though it worthy of posting...C

Corruption and kickbacks on both sides the Los Indios International Bridge

On the U.S. Side: Cash quotas started at $20 a shipment and grew to $450

CDG behind the threats

“They have called me. They've threatened me, and sometimes past, they have kidnapped some of my clients,” said a woman we’ll call “Martha.” She’s one of the U.S. transmigrante business owners who spoke to the CHANNEL 5 NEWS I-Team.

Transmigrantes are Latin Americans who buy used goods in the United States and take them through Mexico to Latin America to sell. The Mexican government states transmigrantes can only cross at the Los Indios International Bridge.

Several wait by the road for inspectors to clear their shipments before crossing into Mexico. Transmigrantes must get through U.S. customs and Mexican customs.

They hire a U.S. transmigrante business to help them through the port of entry. The business assists with getting vehicle titles and filling out various forms. The U.S. transmigrante business must also work with the customs broker in Mexico to get the necessary Mexican paperwork ready.

Some U.S. transmigrante business owners said they’re forced to pay cash quotas, or bribes, to keep operating. One business owner said the “quotas” started in 2006. A man we’ll call “Juan” said the head of one local transmigrante company told all the others they would have to pay “quotas” to get the required paperwork from Mexico.

“He tell us that we have to pay the money here. … They was charging the money inside the USA,” said “Juan.” He told us the payments started at only $20.

click on image to enlarge
The toll kept growing. “Juan” said now transmigrante companies must pay $450 for one shipment.

“George,” another U.S. transmigrante business owner, told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, “We're basically obligated to do our work for free. We're living on the little we can charge our clients.”

“Juan” added the people demanding bribes raised the stakes in December. He said physical threats were made against him and others.

“We're afraid. We're scared for that,” he said.

“Martha” claimed the threats are coming from the Gulf Cartel. “He threatened us, saying that he's going to kill one of the owners, so that way they will stay quiet and that's what he wants,” said “Martha.”

Since the physical threats began, “Juan” and some others are refusing to pay the quotas.

“Juan” claimed if a company tries to cross a client into Mexico without paying, someone will call an office in Mexico and stop the company’s clients from crossing for weeks.

A complaint filed at the Cameron County Sheriff's Office in February states the owner of Transmigrante Cats, a business in Los Indios, admitted to collecting payments on behalf of a Mexican customs broker.

She collected from her competitors, other American transmigrante businesses. Sandra Medina told deputies someone in Mexico set the fees. She said collecting them "caused her nothing but problems," and she would no longer collect those payments.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said his office can do nothing to help. “It’s not a violation in this country. It's a violation in another country,” he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS went to Transmigrante Cats for answers. We spoke to a clerk, who said she didn’t know about the payments collected for Mexican customs. The owner of the business hasn’t returned calls.

Transmigrante business owners CHANNEL 5 NEWS interviewed said they’ve tried complaining to Mexican authorities about the payments and threats. “We contact Mexican customs. We contact the marines. We contact the federal police in Mexico. They don't do nothing,” one of them told us.
In addition to the business owners, transmigrantes themselves are caught in the web of extortion. Sources told us members of the Gulf Cartel meet transmigrantes near the center of the bridge, on the Mexican side, and demand cash.

One transmigrante agreed to be interviewed, and then a man standing nearby issued a warning. “That guy works for the other people on the other side,” said the transmigrante.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted Mexican federal authorities multiple times for answers on how the transmigrante system works. We’re still waiting for answers.

The monetary stakes are allegedly enormous. One source said weekly amounts for shipments total more than $207,000, which adds up to more than $10.8 million in one year.

The website for the U.S. Consul General in Matamoros states there are no duty payments for the transit of goods through Mexico. It adds Mexican customs agents will charge a fee for their services.

The website lists five customs agents in Matamoros. CHANNEL 5 NEWS tried contacting them by phone, but we still have no answers as to how those companies set their fees.

A federal spokesperson said Homeland Security Investigations is aware of what they call "the Brownsville matter." CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros for their reactions. We’re still waiting to hear back from them.

The FBI is aware of allegations of criminal conduct regarding this matter. While FBI and DOJ policy prohibit us from discussing the outcome of our review of this particular matter, it's worth noting that, generally, many claims the FBI receives are assessed to have merit but do not indicate a violation of federal criminal law, or there may be hints at a federal violation but insufficient evidence to support that possibility beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unable to get help from local or federal authorities, “Juan” and the other transmigrante business owners are left wondering how they will continue to make a living.


  1. Just add in the Tax as part of doing business. Welcome to the Mexico border. The Wild Wild West


    Juez otorga libertad a Semeí Verdía por falta de pruebas

    1. "The falta de pruebas"proves the falta de huevos of the mexican governing narco-mierdocracia, but there will be no falta de prepotencia oficial, la falta de pruebas les vale pura chingada, y aleguenle a la mas vieja de su casa...

  3. US answer yeah we know but not our problem

  4. Who runs Mexico? Surely not the government.

    1. Trough all kinds of "business agents", the mexican governing narco-mierdocracia takes care of bitting and chewing everybody's ass in mexico, the pinchi gobernador viejidio cantu governs like the greedy mexican politician he is, the collectors know who they give the money to, FOLLOW THE MONEY, it also helps giving the extorters a good ass whooping, anonymously, with a .50 cal, transmigrants could form an union, you remember how the tepitos take on the police and all comers on el DF??? But do not become pickpockets...please...

  5. Yeah no's the same as the dope that goes south..everybody gots to pay the Piso,whether it's to uncle Sam or to tio chapo.

    1. The dope never goes south.

    2. 90% of the money does not go back to mexico unless it is in the form of "foreign investment", to launder it...

  6. I guess this is talking about legal goods being brought through Mexico to go south.

    A real good narco story is how involved the Mexican narcos are in collecting cuotas for the used clothing, cars, and other "contraband" brought into Mexico for sale there.

    1. That is no quotas there, it is plain MORDIDA, NOWHERE IN THE BOOKS, NO LAW,
      just a custom that depends on the officer in charge an the quota he has to kick up, used to be 10% of the collection , now it is 90%, that is why the quota increases all the time, stop buying shit on the US, period. second hand shit, no way jose...let the US eat their garbage themselves...

    2. Yes - or how same clean is done in U.S. but on uch much larger more sophisticated scale and with help from lawyer, real estate licenados,politicos, IRS and bancs. End result is cleaner in U.S. and 3-6% less cost with cleaner wash. God bless the USA!

  7. Just what the hell are they buying on the US to import to mexico?chinese made goods? They all are in mexico, cheaper as piratized merchandize, and even gets exported to the US, you know, a taco carrito de los de Laura de Mexico will make a millionaire, in pesos but a millionaire, leave the importing of fayuca to the miserable mexican governing narco-mierdocracia and their sicarios, empty the whole state, and see who they steal from next but empty it of extortionistas or of touristas, boycott mexico, all of it, no more $$$, because the citizens are hostages and they can't do anything about anything...

    1. My guess is you don't live in a border state. Because if you do, then certainly, you seen the caravans of two and three used vehicles being towed south to Mexico with each vehicle loaded down with all sorts of stuff from bikes to the kitchen sink.

    2. the stuff they buy? too broad a topic. but i will try to answer. yard sales storage locker auctions used standard transmission small trucks the list goes on and on. i see caravans and truckloads passing through my are daily.

    3. Well, if it is such a good business, then pay and pay and pay your mordidas, I have lived on the border, I don't have the stomach for it...goodbye mexico...

  8. Ehat happened to the narcos that just deal with drugs ,sucks for those people that get extorted

  9. Es LA mana LA que pone LA quotas i las cobra pir todo aparte tambbien si los de LA aduana no te chingan te echan a LA mana para quutarte dinero todo aveses por 20 dlrs asta pir mandado que gente caminando crusa te cobrando quota

  10. Recent Universal article on (supposedly, again) cleaning up customs.

    1. Those mandos were paying quotas upstairs, now they will be coyotes directing payment ts somewhere, like viejidio cantu gets the positions for being such a good pretty priista boy and will put sharper mordida takers there...
      --the demand for second hand fayuca from the US fuels the demand for mordidas, and with the government in the middle it gets worser and worser...
      --ship through veracruz...via guatemala...or send the burros and mulas back to mexico in the night with the second hand givemedowns...
      --mexican garbage trafficking can't be such a good business without paying for it...
      --Plata en las manos o plomo en las nalgas, your choice...don't blame el chapo...


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