The notorious Mexico City street gangs, police, and taxi drivers are all part of the infamous Kidnap Express. There are over 5,000 reported kidnappings in Mexico annually.
The corrupt judicial system in Mexico paves the way for officers of the law to create new ways of funding their own personal lifestyle. Along with drug running, gun running, human trafficking, kidney harvesting, and child labor, kidnapping is possibly the fastest way to earn a corrupt living.
The term ' kidnap express' refers to the fast and sometimes brutal method of abduction of tourists.
Intimidation through the use of knives, guns, as well as physical and psychological abuse have netted the criminals millions of dollars in a short space of time.
The kidnap express is getting larger and expanding year on year as people see it as a 'quick way' to earn money.
The corrupt society in Mexico means that there are very few arrests of these criminals, who are themselves seemingly above the law.
The elected mayors of Mexico do not last long in their jobs, as the cartels have them executed. This is the life in a ruthless and almost lawless country.
Taking a taxi takes a turn for the worse in Mexico when on vacation. There are the usual short trips which end up being twice as long so as the fare can be increased.
Now kidnapping is the new way to extract money from tourists. A simple taxi ride from the airport to the hotel could result in vicious beatings, being threatened with a gun or even physical harm.
The taxi will pick up the client and then drive them to a pre-arranged point with his colleagues. The unsuspecting passengers usually do not know the area and have all trust in the local taxi driver.
Once they are in a rough or secluded part of the city, the driver pulls over and his colleagues pounce. The doors are pulled open and the occupants dragged out. The taxi driver then drives on acting as if nothing has happened.
The victims are searched and have all their personal belongings taken from them. Then one of the victims is forced by gunpoint to go to a cash machine and draw out as much cash as possible.
If the victims are very lucky, the gang will release them once they have got the cash.
Otherwise, some of the victims are allowed to contact somebody back home to arrange for a lump sum cash payment to be made. The ransom is quite moderate so as to allow a quick payment without drawing to much attention.
The gang may hold the victims for several weeks until the ransom is paid. During this time they may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse.
Some of the kidnappings have resulted in the death of the victims, even after the ransom has been paid.
Kidnappings by the Police
Outside of town police on vacation or former policemen and women will set up a false roadblock or checkpoint.
Once a hire car approaches with tourists within it is pulled over. The officers will ask for identification to ensure they are foreigners and then pull out their guns and kidnap them.
The officers may have colleagues waiting in hiding to pounce out and take the victims to a safe house. Once there, they are again subjected to abuse.
A Mexican ex-police officer admitted to committing 70 kidnap crimes and indicates that this way of procuring extra money is rife in the Mexican police force.
The battle with the drug cartels has taken its toll on security forces. Many police officers have 'bumped up' their salary by siding with the cartels and turning a blind eye to drug and human trafficking as well as prostitution.
Hundreds of police officers have been arrested and imprisoned for their part in corruption. But the corruption does not stop there, even high ranking officials, such as judges, are also being arrested.
Free Link: Kidney harvesting in Mexico.
Street Gangs Arsenal
As the Mexican government attempts to reduce the cartels stranglehold on the country, the cartels seek other means of making money.
Most of the killings and violence is due to the cartels and their street gangs killing rival drug gangs whilst vying for the best drug smuggling routes.
But many innocent civilians get killed in the cross fire.
The gun is king in Mexico, where beheading and murder is a way of life for the gangs. Headless corpses are displayed in the streets as a warning to other gangs or as a territory marker.
Mexico may be a beautiful country, but it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
Tourist Warning: Spiders & Snakes in Mexico
Kalmiya from North America on January 26, 2014:
While we read about these terrible events happening in Mexico, it doesn't happen everywhere and they are mostly related to the drug cartels. I personally knew of a woman who worked for a bank in Mexico City and she herself had been car-jacked driving to work one morning so crime is not targeted only at tourists. I visit Mexico regularly though I now travel to the main tourist destinations like Manzanillo (very low crime) and Cancun (they protect the tourism there as it's such a big money maker). I've been to Mexico City three times but only went about during day hours. I used the buses and the subway and had no problems anywhere ever. It's important to be aware of the problems wherever you travel and not get involved with drugs and keep your flash at a minimum. I love Mexico and will keep traveling there for the foreseeable future but thanks for your informative hub!
mecheshier on January 24, 2014:
Wow, this is horrible. Sad thing is, many places are starting to get like this. Thanks for the great post. Voted up for interesting and useful.
torrilynn on January 24, 2014:
This is horrible and one of the main reasons you should research a country before you visit. Thanks for sharing this vital information with myself and others.