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

COCAINE / 7 FEB 2020

Two new books aim to reorient understanding of the foundations of drug policy: the first a nuanced exploration of the…

MEXICO / 5 JUL 2011

Mexican authorities arrested one of the founding members of the Zetas near Mexico City, dealing a…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 7 AUG 2014

Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, alias "Chapo" or "Chapito" Isidro, is a relatively young, formerly low-profile figure believed to have operated…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.