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

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 OCT 2022

Homicides and drug trafficking are pushing up crime levels in Uruguay and authorities are unable to stop it.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 7 MAR 2022

Authorities in Mexico recently seized an historic amount of high-powered weapons and ammunition in a northern border state, laying bare…

ARGENTINA / 6 JUL 2022

Tusi, a pink synthetic drug powder, is increasing its share of Latin America's drug markets.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…