February 3, 2010 |
'We have your daughter." Those chilling words, the worst nightmare of any parent, came over the telephone, spoken by a man planning to demand money for her safe return. One catch: We have no daughter. So the call, for us, was easy enough to ignore. But thousands of Mexicans receive these calls every week. Sometimes they are real; a child or spouse or other relative has been kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded. Often, they're bogus. A cottage industry has exploded alongside the skyrocketing kidnapping rate in Mexico that could be called "extortion on spec": telephoned shakedowns that play on fears, in which the perpetrators scamming for pesos make random calls.
November 17, 2013 |
APATZINGAN, Mexico - In this city in western Mexico, sympathy runs strong for the Knights Templar, a cult-like drug cartel that has used extortion and intimidation to control much of the local economy and undermine government. A few miles up the road, however, amid the lime groves and avocado fields of Michoacan state, residents have taken up weapons to run the Knights Templar out of their towns. They call themselves "self-defense" squads, their territory "liberated. " For the moment, the two well-armed camps are being kept apart by a stepped-up but tenuous federal military deployment.
November 11, 2011 |
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose conservative party is lagging in national popularity amid soaring drug violence, may have a source of hope close to home: his sister. Luisa Maria Calderon, a 55-year-old former senator and the president's older sister, leads polls for governor of Michoacan state, where a victory Sunday could give their National Action Party, or PAN, a needed boost before next year's national elections. The western state, long a corridor for illegal drugs, has been hit hard by rising violence, stoking worry of election day bloodshed or turnout damped by voter fear.
November 6, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY -- In a rare public airing, a senior Catholic prelate has denounced control of Mexico's Michoacan state by violent drug traffickers, challenging official government claims and igniting a fierce debate. Miguel Patiño, the bishop of Apatzingan, one of Michoacan's largest cities and a headquarters for the state's main criminal network, made his charges in an open letter and then in a series of interviews. He said Michoacan had essentially become a failed state because authorities are afraid of -- or in collusion with -- organized crime figures.
November 14, 2004 |
Questions about the future are percolating at F. Gavina & Sons Inc., a family-run coffee company in Vernon. The same is true at Pasadena-based Liborio Markets, which is run by two generations of the Alejo clan: Enrique and his sons, John and Rick. Like hundreds of other businesses across Southern California, these so-called ethnic family companies are thriving. Gavina, for example, has just moved into a new headquarters and roasting plant, bringing seven operations together in one building.
November 30, 2010 |
Mexican authorities Tuesday said they had arrested a regional boss of La Familia drug gang, which dominates the western state of Michoacan with violence and a cult-like authority. The trafficking group recently hung banners suggesting a truce with Mexican government forces, but authorities dismissed the move as a ploy and said they wouldn't negotiate anyway. Federal police said the man arrested Monday, Jose Alfredo Landa Torres, was recently named to head La Familia's operations in the state capital, Morelia.
September 19, 2008 |
Three men were being held as possible suspects in the fatal grenade attack this week on an Independence Day celebration in the western state of Michoacan, authorities said Thursday. Two were detained in northern Zacatecas state late Wednesday after being hospitalized with injuries from a car crash. The third, who had been in the same crash but was released from the hospital, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Zacatecas.
December 2, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - It is a distressingly common part of life in modern Mexico: the bullying phone call demanding that the person who answers pay up - or else. Businesses get the extortion calls. Families get them. And now, apparently, so has the country's main Roman Catholic seminary. In a sermon Sunday, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera announced that a vice rector at the Conciliar Seminary of Mexico received a number of threatening phone calls Nov. 20-21. The callers, the cardinal said, demanded 60,000 pesos - about $4,500 - "in exchange for respecting the lives of the superiors of that institution," according to a statement issued Sunday evening by the Archdiocese of Mexico.
October 31, 1993 |
I'm more than a little nervous as we drive down the dirt road through the dilapidated white stucco gates that lead to the Akumal Club Caribe. The place doesn't look like any resort I've ever seen, much less one that is rumored to be the latest mecca for in-the-know vacationing American families.