HomeNewsBriefLoan Sharks Contract Organized Crime as Muscle in Michoacán
BRIEF

Loan Sharks Contract Organized Crime as Muscle in Michoacán

MEXICO / 25 MAR 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

In another sign of the proliferation of the use of violence and intimidation in Mexico, informal money lenders in the embattled state of Michoacán are turning to local enforcers to make debtors turn over their homes. 

The State Attorney General's Office in Michoacán has released details about a network of organized crime affiliates contracted by local money lenders to kidnap debtors and subsequently force them to turn over their homes and properties as payment, reported El Universal. State authorities have secured seven properties that were illegally taken in 2011, as a means of payment on behalf of loan sharks. 

"These are properties that were taken from their legitimate owners, who were kidnapped and forced to cede the properties as payment for a debt," said a representative of the State Attorney General's Office to El Universal. 

Authorities have not named the organized crime group or groups responsible for carrying out the contracted kidnappings and confiscation of property, nor have they indicated whether any arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing. 

El Universal noted in its report that authorities elsewhere in the country are dealing with similar cases, including in the Yucatán, which has seen a spike in express kidnappings in recent weeks suspected of being connected to illegal loan operations. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

Michoacán has been plagued by security troubles for years now and is still reeling from extended confrontations between those who call themselves "self-defense" groups and organized crime, a complicated mix of diverse non-state actors. At least a few of these actors have turned to loan sharking operations or, at the very least, working as enforcers for loan sharks.  

SEE ALSO: Mexico's Security Dilemma: Michoacán's Militias

In part, this can be explained as a natural biproduct of the fragmentation of organized crime in Mexico. Mexico's monolithic criminal organizations have been shattered in recent years. What's left is contract labor, a vibrant black market for weapons and a criminal wherewithal that includes understanding how to employ violence and intimidation. 

Regionally, loan sharking has also become a popular way for organized crime networks to put illicit funds into circulation. Such operations often rely on violent enforcement tactics, in turn generating larger security concerns and higher homicide rates.

Authorities in Cali, Colombia, for instance, recently estimated that as many as 10 percent of the city's homicides can be linked to illegal money lending operations. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 16 APR 2021

After the discovery of several elaborate tunnels used to siphon fuel to two hidden warehouses, it's clear that Mexico's gas…

CHINA AND CRIME / 27 FEB 2021

A new investigation has identified Mexico as a major contributor to a global seahorse trafficking network centered around China but…

EL CHAPO / 3 MAY 2021

The conviction of Ismael Zambada-Imperial, son of the Sinaloa Cartel's top leader, in the US may be a headline-grabber but…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…