Extortion of Mexico Electric Company Spotlights State Weaknesses

3/23/2017 InSightCrime

Energy -electricity_transmission_linesOrganized crime groups are extorting Mexico’s federal electricity company, highlighting the ways in which criminal organizations are exploiting the state’s weakness to increase their revenues.

Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad – CFE) has suffered extortions by organized crime groups in the north and west of the country, reported Zeta Tijuana.

According to Gustavo Cuevas, a CFE executive, criminals are allegedly telling local businesses not to pay the energy company, and to pay organized crime groups instead.

“They approach a company, a textile factory, and say: from now on you no longer pay for your electricity. You are going to pay me for it,” Cuevas told Reforma.

At the same time, criminal groups are allegedly threatening CFE employees not to cut power to businesses that are paying criminals rather than the energy company.

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29 Inmates Tunnel Out of Northern Mexico Prison

3/23/2017 New York Times

San-Quentin-Prison-5MEXICO CITY — A group of 29 inmates tunneled their way out of a prison in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas.

One of the inmates shot to death a passing motorist in an apparent carjacking as part of the mass escape in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria.

The Tamaulipas state security spokesman said 12 of the 29 have been recaptured.

Spokesman Luis Alberto Rodriguez said Thursday the inmates had dug a tunnel about 5 yards (meters) deep and 40 yards (meters) long to flee.

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Mexico suspends imports of Brazilian meat, poultry amid health concerns

3/21/2017 Reuters

poultrychickensMexico has suspended all meat and poultry imports from Brazil since March 19, the government said Tuesday, dealing another blow to the world’s top beef and poultry exporter amid growing concerns about the quality of those products.

Mexico said that owing to the health concerns, it has suspended the poultry imports from Brazil it normally receives, adding that it does not import Brazilian beef or pork products.

Brazilian authorities on Tuesday began scouring meat plants closed after a probe into corruption by health inspectors and the alleged sale of rotten products.

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Youth-Created Apps Look to Boost Debate on Corruption in Mexico

3/19/2017 teleSUR

using smartphoneTeaching kids anti-corruption values, comparing politicians and reporting corrupt public works? In Mexico, there’s an app for that.

Three new innovative apps are hoping to promote a debate about corruption in Mexico and urging citizens to take part to checking abuses of power before they happen.

Caza Corruptos, Ligue Politico and Obra Chueca were all developed by Mexican youth and won 2016 Anti-Corruption Innovation Prizes in a contest organized by Opciona and Telefonica Open Future.

Winning the prize for best conceptual idea, Caza Corruptos — which roughly translates to “corruption hunting” — is a game app geared toward children between 7 and 12 years of age with the aim of teaching the value of transparency and honesty in a playful way.

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Another Journalist Slain in Mexico’s Violent Veracruz State

3/19/2017 New York Times

veracruzXALAPA, Mexico — An attacker shot a journalist to death Sunday in the Mexican state of Veracruz, adding to the toll in a region plagued by drug gang violence and allegations of government corruption.

Journalist Ricardo Monlui was leaving a restaurant with his wife and a son in the town of Yanga, outside the larger city of Cordoba, when a man who appeared to have been waiting shot Monlui twice and fled, local police chief Carlos Samuel Hernandez said. The wife and son apparently were unhurt.

Monlui is at least the 11th journalist to be slain in just over six years in Veracruz state, but the first since former Gov. Javier Duarte quit last year and vanished in the face of corruption charges. New Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes, who took office in December, expressed indignation at the killing.

As a battleground for rival drug cartels, Veracruz is one of Mexico’s most violent states. The governor reported that eight people, including five police officers, also were killed Sunday during a gunbattle in the Coxquihi municipality in a mountainous area of northern Veracruz. Yunes said it wasn’t yet clear what happened.

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Mexican parents, not authorities, led search for drug-war mass grave

3/17/2017 Reuters

Mothers of missing sons came out of a service of  Pedro Alberto Huesca, whose remains were found at one of the unmarked graves where skulls were found on a plot of land, in Palmas de Abajo, Veracruz, Mexico
Source: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

A group of bereaved parents who overcame government apathy to uncover one of the largest mass graves in the dark history of Mexico’s drug war have also exposed the government’s slow progress in attending to rights abuses and victims.

After a six-months plus investigation led by the families, government investigators in the Gulf state of Veracruz said on Tuesday they had found more than 250 skulls in shallow graves in a field, a record in the atrocities in Mexico.

On Thursday, reporters gained access for the first time to the lush tropical area spotted with lagoons, which is near a current major expansion of Veracruz city’s busy seaport.

The site was uncovered last year after a tip to members of Colectivo Solecito, one of several groups of frustrated relatives searching for the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing during the gang drug wars and whose cases are unsolved.

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Mexico Drug War Investigators Unearth 47 More Skulls in Mass Graves

3/20/2017 Reuters

Grave photo credit Kelly DonlanInvestigators unearthed the skulls of 47 more suspected victims of Mexico’s drug war in Veracruz state, just days after uncovering 250 skulls at a separate mass grave used by drug cartels, the state’s attorney general said on Sunday.

Veracruz, on Mexico’s Gulf coast, has long been a stomping ground for criminal gangs, who fight over lucrative drug and migrant smuggling routes.

Giving details on the latest grisly find, Jorge Winckler said the skulls and remains of multiple body parts were unearthed from eight unmarked graves, clustered in a 120 sq meter area, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the town of Alvarado.

So far, Winckler said, investigators had positively identified one three-person family, missing since September 2016, and the remains of two other men.

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