HomeNewsBriefColombian Loan Sharks in Mexico Enjoy Major Cartel Protection
BRIEF

Colombian Loan Sharks in Mexico Enjoy Major Cartel Protection

COLOMBIA / 7 FEB 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A new report says that some of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations are overseeing loan sharking schemes headed by Colombian nationals throughout the country, providing further evidence that such groups are seeking new revenue streams outside of their traditional strongholds.

Investigations carried out by authorities in Mexico City determined that eight criminal groups act as the main protectors of more than 1,500 Colombians who overstayed their visas to operate loan sharking networks in the capital and across more than 20 of Mexico’s 31 states since 2015, Excelsior reported.

The Unión de Tepito, Familia Michoacana and the Fuerza Anti-Unión are among the local groups providing protection, while larger organizations like the Zetas and Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG) also oversee these operations, according to Excelsior.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

The loan sharks utilize the so-called “gota a gota,” or “drop by drop” method, where they offer loans at high interest rates to small business owners and street vendors, and then extort those who cannot pay, according to Claudia Sheinbaum, the head of government in Mexico City.

First, these organizations verbally offer a 20 percent interest rate. However, that interest rate goes up to 50 percent four weeks later. The victims are threatened, robbed and sometimes even attacked if they cannot pay. In some cases, active police officers have also been identified as participating in these schemes.

In one specific sector of Mexico City behind the National Palace, street vendors are often victimized and forced to pay between 1,000 and 2,000 Mexican pesos per day (between around $50 and $100), according to Excelsior.

InSight Crime Analysis

The latest revelations about the dynamics of loan sharking networks operating in Mexico provide further evidence that some of the country’s most powerful criminal organizations are diversifying their operations and seeking new revenue streams.

For starters, this is a very low-risk endeavor. Mexico’s criminal groups seem happy to allow Colombians to come in and run these types of schemes so long as they receive a cut of the profits. If authorities intervene, their hands are clean because they haven’t personally extorted anyone on the street.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

This isn’t the only indication that Mexico’s dominant criminal actors are seeking new revenue streams as traditional income sources like the marijuana and heroin trades have been greatly diminished by legalization and synthetic opioids recently.

Indeed, outside of loan sharking, the CJNG is also reportedly supporting the Tobacco Cartel (Cártel del Tabaco), a new group formed in late 2017 that strong-arms vendors into selling homegrown cigarette brands across at least eight Mexican states. The country’s most dominant criminal group is also in charge of overseeing a number of smaller groups involved in the lucrative oil theft business, a billion dollar industry that has sparked brutal battles between competing organizations.

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

EL CHAPO / 17 OCT 2012

The powerful Sinaloa Cartel has reportedly infiltrated Mexico's main organized crime investigation unit, illustrating how drug…

COLOMBIA / 23 OCT 2012

With the demobilization of 17 fighters in Valle del Cauca and hundreds more possibly to surrender, there are indications that…

COLOMBIA / 19 OCT 2011

The drug trade now makes up a decreasing share of Colombia's economy, according to the country's national statistics agency.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.