HomeNewsBriefCoal Baron With Suspected Narco Ties Killed in Mexico
BRIEF

Coal Baron With Suspected Narco Ties Killed in Mexico

ILLEGAL MINING / 5 NOV 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The assassination of a business leader in Mexico’s coal mining industry — who had been accused of ties to the Zetas criminal group — is a reminder of the links between mining and organized crime in Latin America.

On October 31, Jose Reynold Bermea Castilla, the owner of a coal mining company in the border state of Coahuila, was killed by a lone assassin near his home, reported El Financiero.

Bermea Castilla was suspected by the authorities of using his mining business to launder money for the former head of the Zetas, Miguel Treviño, alias “Z-40.” The mine owner was arrested in 2012 on charges of illegally possessing military-grade weapons, but was freed months later.

Little information has been released regarding the circumstances of the killing. However, authorities said that it was an isolated case and that they would not increase security measures in the area, according to Zocalo.

InSight Crime Analysis

Bermea Castilla’s murder points to the relationship between the mining industry and organized crime in Mexico. The country’s mining industry is attractive for drug trafficking groups, in part because it is generally under lax state regulation and is considered an easy way to launder money.

This dynamic has been seen for some time in Mexico. In 2012, former Coahuila Governor Humberto Moreira claimed that Zetas leader Heriberto “Z-3” Lazcano had run mining operations in the state. In early 2013, the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) froze the accounts of 12 mining companies as authorities investigated them for ties to drug trafficking groups.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mining

The intersection between mining and organized crime is not unique to Mexico. The amount of money laundered through illegal gold mining in Peru reportedly rose by 50 percent from mid-2012 to early 2014. In Colombia, the lucrative emerald industry — including the sector’s now-dead top tycoon, Victor Carranza — has long been linked to drug trafficking groups.

While some of those in the mining sector may collaborate in laundering the profits of drug traffickers, criminal groups in Mexico have also turned to robbing mining companies as a way to supplement their income. In early 2014, a mining industry representative said that some mining companies had begun transporting products and personnel by air due to a growing number of robberies by criminal groups. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

GENDER AND CRIME / 2 MAY 2013

United States authorities have arrested 13 people accused of involvement in a network that forced Mexican women into sexual slavery…

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 23 JUL 2013

Almost a hundred illegal landing strips have been destroyed in Mexico so far this year, a continuation of the…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 15 JUN 2020

New court documents allege that a top-level criminal enforcer in Mexico served as an informant prior to his arrest, but…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…