HomeNewsBriefOrganized Crime Profiting from Hurricane Reconstruction in Mexico
BRIEF

Organized Crime Profiting from Hurricane Reconstruction in Mexico

EXTORTION / 18 AUG 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Organized crime groups are profiting from post-hurricane reconstruction efforts in the western Mexico state of Guerrero as local criminals display an old fashioned mafia-style game to exert control over civil life in their search for new revenue streams.

A report by Mexican newspaper Reforma has revealed how criminal groups are extorting construction companies involved in rebuilding efforts following last year’s hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid. They are also forcing companies to rent machinery and buy building materials from them, and only employ workers from certain unions.

Alfredo Adame Arcos, the president of the Mexican Chamber of the Industry of Construction (CMIC), told Reforma that criminal groups were claiming 5-10 percent of the contract price on reconstruction projects.

According to Adame, when companies refuse to acquiesce to their demands, the criminal groups kidnap employees and family members and steal company vehicles. CMIC has recorded 33 so-called “express” kidnappings — where victims are held for hours while ransoms are paid or demands are met — of workers on reconstruction projects.

Harassment by criminal groups has brought to a halt construction on schools and a bridge and has so far driven at least two companies to abandon their Guerrero projects.

InSight Crime Analysis

Extortion of construction companies is a common occurrence in Mexico and in other countries around the region with a strong organized crime presence, such as Colombia and Peru.

However, the tactics employed by the criminal groups in Guerrero go beyond this, using violence and intimidation to take a cut on multiple levels in a manner more reminiscent of traditional mafia organizations than modern drug trafficking networks.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

This is indicative of a drive to diversify criminal revenue streams, a common pattern around Mexico. One of the main causes of such diversification is a fragmentation of organized crime. As groups break down into smaller, more localized and independent factions they are less able to rely on drug trade profits as they no longer have the coordination and geographical presence to control significant sections of the drug supply chain.

Guerrero is a prime example of this. It is one of the most violent states in Mexico. The criminal groups disputing control are not major cartels but splinter groups and the remnants of once powerful organizations such as the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO).

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

MEXICO / 16 AUG 2018

The United States and Mexico have announced plans for renewed cooperation on combating Mexico-based drug trafficking groups. But although the…

MEXICO / 6 JUL 2011

The latest in the Mexican government’s series of “myth-busting” blog posts challenges the idea that authorities aren't doing enough to…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 18 NOV 2014

In a surprise move, Alfredo Beltran Leyva, the former leader of Mexican drug trafficking group the Beltran Leyva Organization, was…

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…