Mexico's drug cartels target migrants as they expand into extortion

 

Marina E. Franco, Noticias Telemundo

via Axios - Oct 5, 2021

 

Kidnapping families, torturing kids for information on whom to ask for ransom, and dismembering those that don’t pay: This is how cartels and local gangs operate as they have diversified their business from drug trafficking to extortion.

 

Why it matters: The stories of survivors show the dire straits migrants face in their journey to the U.S., the one place they think can be a safe haven from the violence, climate disasters, political persecution and poverty that made them leave their place of birth.

 

·         As more people attempt crossings or get stranded from express deportations and quickly rejected asylum claims, the cartels and coyotes are profiting.

 

How it works: The kidnappings happen both before attempted crossings to the U.S. and after expulsions from the border, according to Noticias Telemundo Investiga interviews with dozens of people who were released.

 

·         There are “hawks," or cartel spies, in bus and taxi stations and sometimes even in migrant shelters run by NGOs. They ID possible targets.

·         Once people are kidnapped, often forced onto cars at gunpoint, they are told to hand over their cellphones. If they’re not unlocked, their owners are threatened with having a finger chopped off.

·         The abductors use the phones to extort funds from victims’ family members, first threatening beatings or rape, and then sending photographs of the victims after those threats are carried out.

 

The bottom line ...

 

By the numbers ...

 

What they’re saying ...

 

more, including links

https://www.axios.com/mexico-drug-cartels-extortion-migrants-6b43e397-b7b2-475c-9c84-24309bbcbd1d.html