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So You Think Expats Are Safe?

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This occurred in front of many. There is only lawlessness in Mexico whenever the narcos so deem.

Canadian Citizen Killed in Coahuila

Friday, June 11, 2010 | Borderland Reporter Gerardo

According to the Proceso magazine website a Canadian citizen, Kenneth Charles Peters, was shot and killed by an armed group of men in the town of Allende, Coahuila located approximately 40 miles from Eagle Pass, Texas.

The incident occurred about 5:00 PM on Wednesday, June 9th.

A second person who was a passenger in the same vehicle with Mr. Peters was seriously injured.

State prosecutor Jesus Torres Charles confirmed the death of the Canadian who suffered two bullet wounds. The unidentified passenger also suffered several gunshot wounds and could be a U.S. citizen according to the prosecutor.

The encounter began after the pair left Piedras Negras en route to the town of Muzquiz.

According to a police report a group of gunmen intercepted the gold Suburban in which the victims were traveling at the junction of Highway 57 and Highway 2. The Suburban refused to stop and attempted to evade the armed group

The gunmen pursued and shot at the vehicle which crashed and overturned in Allende.

A local reporter interviewed several witnesses to the chase that stated speeds reached up to 100 miles per hour under a hail of gunfire.

After Kenneth Peters’ Suburban crashed and overturned in Allende, one of the pursuing gunmen descended from his vehicle and in front of more than a dozen travelers on the highway walked to the wreckage and shot Mr. Peters twice in the head.

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I wonder why anyone would be in that area if they weren't involved in drugs?

In any case, probably an attempted carjacking. No vehicle is worth your life.

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Border areas are dangerous, they had an SUV and tried to outrun the bad guys. You car can be replaced and you have insurance, your life cannot.

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According to this info, the murder rate of Americans in Mexico (based upon 1,000,000 residents and 3,000,000 tourists) is about 1/100,000. That is about 1/6th the murder rate in the US.

The murder rate for Baltimore for example was something like 36/100,000 and New Orleans something like 63/100,000.

http://www.mexicomike.com/safety/safety-UsStateDepartment.html

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The topic is "are expats safe"; the info in the weblink I posted was in reference to the number of Americans who have been murdered in Mexico. I doubt if anyone is disputing the murder statistics of Mexican nationals,

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The topic is "are expats safe"; the info in the weblink I posted was in reference to the number of Americans who have been murdered in Mexico. I doubt if anyone is disputing the murder statistics of Mexican nationals,

Of those Americans murdered in Mexico,it would be interesting to know how many were involved in the drug trade or other illicit activity.

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Of those Americans murdered in Mexico,it would be interesting to know how many were involved in the drug trade or other illicit activity.

The incident occurred on Highway 57 which is a MAJOR highway leading south from the Texas border at Eagle Pass/Piedras Negras. It is used by tens of thousands of gringos and paisanos annually travelling to the interior. Zetas set up a retén (roadblock) for whatever purpose on the highway and were stopping vehicles. The Canadian apparently decided not to stop.

Spin the statistics all you want but I bet many members of this forum have travelled that road. If you are in a vehicle and stumble onto a retén you are risk regardless of your nationality or lifestyle. You wouldn't make jokes or give a rat's ### about the murder rate in Baltimore if you have been stopped by armed gunmen on a public road or highway.

While visiting his wife's hometown of Gomez Palacio, Durango over the Christmas holidays, Los Angeles school administrator Bobby Salcedo was abducted at random from a local bar while out with his wife and some friends and murdered. This quote from his widow is a chilling reminder of the current state of affairs. . . "you are careful, you look around, but you never think these kinds of things can happen... to innocent people. We were having a good time. Then we were in the mouth of the wolf."

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The incident occurred on Highway 57 which is a MAJOR highway leading south from the Texas border at Eagle Pass/Piedras Negras. It is used by tens of thousands of gringos and paisanos annually travelling to the interior. Zetas set up a retén (roadblock) for whatever purpose on the highway and were stopping vehicles. The Canadian apparently decided not to stop.

Spin the statistics all you want but I bet many members of this forum have travelled that road. If you are in a vehicle and stumble onto a retén you are risk regardless of your nationality or lifestyle. You wouldn't make jokes or give a rat's ### about the murder rate in Baltimore if you have been stopped by armed gunmen on a public road or highway.

This quote from Betzy Salcedo, widow of the Los Angeles school administrator who was murdered at random while visiting Betzy's hometown of Gomez Palacio, Durango over the Christmas holidays is a chilling reminder of the current state of affairs. . . "you are careful, you look around, but you never think these kinds of things can happen... to innocent people. We were having a good time. Then we were in the mouth of the wolf."

Maybe,but my question stands.

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There are plenty of Mexicans who die a violent death in the US every year. Some Americans die a violent death in Mexico, but I doubt seriously if the number of Americans who have died a violent death in Mexico is anywhere near the number of Mexicans who are killed in random acts of violence north of the border. Pick up any major city newspaper from a border state and look at the police beat. Either way everyone loses.

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There are plenty of Mexicans who die a violent death in the US every year. Some Americans die a violent death in Mexico, but I doubt seriously if the number of Americans who have died a violent death in Mexico is anywhere near the number of Mexicans who are killed in random acts of violence north of the border. Pick up any major city newspaper from a border state and look at the police beat. Either way everyone loses.

I think we are talking apples and oranges. The OP asked whether foreign residents of Mexico were safe in light of this incident. This incident is different because of where, how and to whom it happened. It occured when a foreigner encountered a situation unique to the current problems and he didn't know or appreciate how to act. Basically this is the first gringo casualty caused by narco-violence on a Mexican highway. That is what makes this something to at least note.

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Not only that just think what might happen if the USA decides to do something that makes the cartel mad and the cartel decides to take it out on the gringo's that live in Mexico. One never knows until it is to late. I just pray it doesn't get to that.

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I had a friend some ten years ago who owned a large ranch near Muzquiz. He has since moved back to Texas because that area has developed into a narco hot spot. I visited there in 2000 and it was not a friendly area then, so I never went back. I suppose the Canadian who was murdered was not aware of the problems in Muzquiz or otherwise he would have steered well clear. Not a location that tourists normally visit.

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Aw, jeez--we drove that road to Piedras Negras (south to north, however) a little over a month ago, going home in our camper van, and it went through beautiful country. It's getting hard to find a border crossing that hasn't had recent problems. Ordinarily we would go through Santa Teresa, slightly west of Juarez, but this time we avoided it because of the violence in Juarez (plus the road through Chihuahua is tedious, and some of the towns en route are a little creepy). Frankly even though it's a little out of our way we'll continue to use the Piedras Negras/Eagle Pass crossing because the Mexican roads are good and the crossing is efficient and well organized. At least until events convince us otherwise.

Has anyone had trouble with the police in Monclova on that route? RVers are told to avoid Monclova because the police target RVs for mordida, though we found that going straight through town rather than taking the truck bypass eliminated any questions. However, we drive a small van-type RV, one that looks a lot like a collectivo, so we were able to drive through town rather than being required to take the bypass with the big trucks.

N.

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Some clarifying information...the Canadian man's full name was Kenneth Charles Peter Klowak and he was a well-respected mountain bicyclist who was on his way to develop some riding trails in the area around Muzquiz. If you search on his complete name you will find out a lot more about what happened.

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This link has the most details of the incident that I have been able to find and is based on the reports of witnesses and what the survivors told Mexican and Eagle Pass police. I have not found any report of what happened to the occupants of the second pickup in Klowak's party, other than that they fled in the vehicle, or what their account of the incident is.

http://www.proceso.com.mx/rv/modHome/detalleExclusiva/80491?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

ALLENDE, Coah., 18 June (apro).- Last Wednesday June 9 at about 1:00pm, two pickups driven by Canadian and United States citizen mountain biking enthusiasts were traveling over Highway 57 and upon entering Mexican territory the occupants decided to stop to eat in a well-known establishment known as “Machacado Doña Herlinda” in the community of Río Bravo.

The foreigners were en route to the Múzquiz Mountains where they intended to buy a ranch and build mountain bike trails, as they practiced this activity in their home countries.

Río Bravo, some 50 kilometers from Piedras Negras, is near the municipal seat of Allende where the tollbooth of the Mexico City-Piedras Negras highway, popularly known as the "kilometer 54 tollbooth", is located.

According to the report from the Investigative Police of the State Prosecutor's Office (FGE), together with accounts from witnesses and information from the Eagle Pass, Texas Police Department, the Canadian and United States citizens happened upon several subjects in the establishment who had arrived in flashy pickups.

The latter group finished eating and walked towards where their pickups were parked. Moments later, the foreigners did the same. Before they resumed their travel an adolescent mounted the running board of the Suburban driven by the Canadian Kenneth Charles Peters Klowak and told him "they wanted to talk to him".

The 44-year-old Klowak panicked, kicked at the young man through the window (sic) and attempted to flee. The adolescent, however, drew a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and threatened him. The Canadian ignored the threats and began to resume his travel. The adolescent nimbly climbed onto the roof of the Suburban.

Despite the fact that the vehicle was in movement the adolescent fired towards the passenger compartment several times. Two bullets struck Klowak in the head and killed him instantly, and another wounded his companion, also in the head. The third passenger, from the United States, managed to survive.

The pickup, now driverless, turned over. The occupants of the cherry-colored pickup fled.

The names of the survivors were not revealed to the reporter as the Eagle Pass police asked the FGE to keep them secret for their protection, explained a supervisor from the agency who requested anonymity.

According to the report, the crime was reported by the Mexican authorities as an accidental rollover despite multiple clues that left no room for doubt that it was an attack: the victims had bullet wounds and the roof of the Suburban had several bullet holes. The front seat passenger unconcious inside the vehicle was transported to Piedras Negras, and as of the morning of Friday June 18 continues to be non-responsive.

According to his testimony to the Eagle Pass police, after the vehicle turned over the only survivor did not note the presence of the adolescent who had shot them. He also said that several vehicles promptly arrived at the place of the rollover to see if they could help, but he chose to remain immobile so that he would be taken for dead.

As soon as the strangers withdrew the United States citizen walked some four miles across country, but as he did not find help he retraced his steps.

Back at the scene of the crime, another two white vehicles picked him up and they began to question him in English. Without identifying themselves, they provided him with money for a taxi and left him at one of the international bridges in Piedras Negras.

According to a source from the FEG, the attack may have been perpetrated by an organized crime group. The line of investigation has not been well established, however, because there are indications that one of the occupants could be an ex-agent of the DEA. This has not be confirmed either by Mexican authorities or those in the neighboring country to the north.

Since the news agency APRO and the website of the weekly publication Proceso www.proceso.com.mx published information relating to this incident, the local and Canadian media have devoted attention to the death of Klowak, who was from Ontario, Canadá.

The CBC News network confirmed that the victim was "an avid mountain biker" and belonged to an international organization based in Vancouver that is devoted to collecting funds for promoting the preservation of mountain trails.

Kenneth Charles Peters Klowak, according to the Canadian outlet The Windsor Star, was bured Wednesday June 16 in Orangeville, Canada.

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This link has the most details of the incident that I have been able to find and is based on the reports of witnesses and what the survivors told Mexican and Eagle Pass police. I have not found any report of what happened to the occupants of the second pickup in Klowak's party, other than that they fled in the vehicle, or what their account of the incident is.

http://www.proceso.com.mx/rv/modHome/detalleExclusiva/80491?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

ALLENDE, Coah., 18 June (apro).- Last Wednesday June 9 at about 1:00pm, two pickups driven by Canadian and United States citizen mountain biking enthusiasts were traveling over Highway 57 and upon entering Mexican territory the occupants decided to stop to eat in a well-known establishment known as “Machacado Doña Herlinda” in the community of Río Bravo.

The foreigners were en route to the Múzquiz Mountains where they intended to buy a ranch and build mountain bike trails, as they practiced this activity in their home countries.

Río Bravo, some 50 kilometers from Piedras Negras, is near the municipal seat of Allende where the tollbooth of the Mexico City-Piedras Negras highway, popularly known as the "kilometer 54 tollbooth", is located.

According to the report from the Investigative Police of the State Prosecutor's Office (FGE), together with accounts from witnesses and information from the Eagle Pass, Texas Police Department, the Canadian and United States citizens happened upon several subjects in the establishment who had arrived in flashy pickups.

The latter group finished eating and walked towards where their pickups were parked. Moments later, the foreigners did the same. Before they resumed their travel an adolescent mounted the running board of the Suburban driven by the Canadian Kenneth Charles Peters Klowak and told him "they wanted to talk to him".

The 44-year-old Klowak panicked, kicked at the young man through the window (sic) and attempted to flee. The adolescent, however, drew a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and threatened him. The Canadian ignored the threats and began to resume his travel. The adolescent nimbly climbed onto the roof of the Suburban.

Despite the fact that the vehicle was in movement the adolescent fired towards the passenger compartment several times. Two bullets struck Klowak in the head and killed him instantly, and another wounded his companion, also in the head. The third passenger, from the United States, managed to survive.

The pickup, now driverless, turned over. The occupants of the cherry-colored pickup fled.

The names of the survivors were not revealed to the reporter as the Eagle Pass police asked the FGE to keep them secret for their protection, explained a supervisor from the agency who requested anonymity.

According to the report, the crime was reported by the Mexican authorities as an accidental rollover despite multiple clues that left no room for doubt that it was an attack: the victims had bullet wounds and the roof of the Suburban had several bullet holes. The front seat passenger unconcious inside the vehicle was transported to Piedras Negras, and as of the morning of Friday June 18 continues to be non-responsive.

According to his testimony to the Eagle Pass police, after the vehicle turned over the only survivor did not note the presence of the adolescent who had shot them. He also said that several vehicles promptly arrived at the place of the rollover to see if they could help, but he chose to remain immobile so that he would be taken for dead.

As soon as the strangers withdrew the United States citizen walked some four miles across country, but as he did not find help he retraced his steps.

Back at the scene of the crime, another two white vehicles picked him up and they began to question him in English. Without identifying themselves, they provided him with money for a taxi and left him at one of the international bridges in Piedras Negras.

According to a source from the FEG, the attack may have been perpetrated by an organized crime group. The line of investigation has not been well established, however, because there are indications that one of the occupants could be an ex-agent of the DEA. This has not be confirmed either by Mexican authorities or those in the neighboring country to the north.

Since the news agency APRO and the website of the weekly publication Proceso www.proceso.com.mx published information relating to this incident, the local and Canadian media have devoted attention to the death of Klowak, who was from Ontario, Canadá.

The CBC News network confirmed that the victim was "an avid mountain biker" and belonged to an international organization based in Vancouver that is devoted to collecting funds for promoting the preservation of mountain trails.

Kenneth Charles Peters Klowak, according to the Canadian outlet The Windsor Star, was bured Wednesday June 16 in Orangeville, Canada.

Of ALL the different sources for the story of this incident this is the only story line which seems unbelievable.

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Of ALL the different sources for the story of this incident this is the only story line which seems unbelievable.

An attempted carjacking is actually a lot more believable than the Zetas setting up a retén(roadblock)on Highway 57 outside of Piedras which is what one of the first reports said. Whatever the case clearly the victim panicked.

Musquiz by the way is a well-known recreational area in northern Coahuila. I don't know how popular it is with ex-pat/gringo types but it is very popular with residents of the area. Because the area is remote and isolated from the inter-cartel violence it has been relatively quiet. That may be changing now as the Military has inititated operations against the Zetas in northern Coahuila and there have been several violent encounters in Piedras Negaras over the past month.

There is no need for any vehicle to take the truck route to the industrial plants that ring the western outskirts of the Monclova area. Highway 57 (Blvd. Pape within Monclova) is more than capable of handling RV traffic. The problems which people have reported on the bypass are actually occuring in Frontera, a city located adjacent to Monclova.

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We had no issues with our 20-foot class B van, and people we met in Patzcuaro said they drove on Blvd. Pape with their bumper-pull trailer without incident, so I agree that going through town is preferable to getting the shake down from the cops on the bypass. RVs seem to think that they should follow the trucks, but we're so small that we can pass. But if the military is targeting the Zetas, that may change our ideas about that route. Forgive me for saying this, but I think the Mexican government's campaign against the drogistas is making life very difficult for both gringos and Mexicans. Life was much simpler for all of us before Calderon decided to wipe out drugs in Mexico. This has nothing to do with whether drugs are good or bad--just that the current situation is really bad for us all.

N.

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An attempted carjacking is actually a lot more believable than the Zetas setting up a retén(roadblock)on Highway 57 outside of Piedras which is what one of the first reports said. Whatever the case clearly the victim panicked.

Musquiz by the way is a well-known recreational area in northern Coahuila. I don't know how popular it is with ex-pat/gringo types but it is very popular with residents of the area. Because the area is remote and isolated from the inter-cartel violence it has been relatively quiet. That may be changing now as the Military has inititated operations against the Zetas in northern Coahuila and there have been several violent encounters in Piedras Negaras over the past month.

There is no need for any vehicle to take the truck route to the industrial plants that ring the western outskirts of the Monclova area. Highway 57 (Blvd. Pape within Monclova) is more than capable of handling RV traffic. The problems which people have reported on the bypass are actually occuring in Frontera, a city located adjacent to Monclova.

I don't know how recent your info is about Musquiz, but I do not feel that it has been isolated from inter-cartel violence. Besides the ranch owner I know who moved back to Texas, I also know of two brothers who were convicted on US Fed drug trafficking charges and they both were connected to the Zetas out of the Carmago - Musquiz area. They are now both out of prison and one was deported back to Musquiz because he was born in Mexico and not the US. They were convicted in the 90's.

Maybe things have changed since then, I don't know. Seems like the Gulf Cartel has killed off most of the Zetas recently. Carmago was a Zeta stronghold back in the 90's.

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I don't know how recent your info is about Musquiz, but I do not feel that it has been isolated from inter-cartel violence. Besides the ranch owner I know who moved back to Texas, I also know of two brothers who were convicted on US Fed drug trafficking charges and they both were connected to the Zetas out of the Carmago - Musquiz area. They are now both out of prison and one was deported back to Musquiz because he was born in Mexico and not the US. They were convicted in the 90's.

Maybe things have changed since then, I don't know. Seems like the Gulf Cartel has killed off most of the Zetas recently. Carmago was a Zeta stronghold back in the 90's.

What I meant by quiet is that northern Coahuila has not experienced widespread open violence between competing cartel groups, certainly nothing on the scale of the violence that engulfed Nuevo Laredo in 2003-05 when the Sinaloa cartel attempted to take control of that corridor from the Gulf cartel or the violence that began in February when the Zetas and the Gulf cartel had a falling out in the Tamaulipas frontera. There is organized criminal activity in northern Coahuila but the violence has been of the type inherent to the narco business. There has not been cartel v. cartel violence. The army has begun an offensive in the area against the Zetas and there have been several public balaceras (shootouts) in Piedras Negras in recent weeks. That is what should be of concern to people travelling through the area.

The original Zetas were former Army special forces members who were recruited by the former head of the Gulf Cartel (Osiel Cardenas) to serve as enforcers in the war against the Sinaloa group. I don't think the Zetas were formed until 2001-02. Camargo is the border town in Tamaulipas across from Rio Grande City, Texas. It is probably 250 miles from Musquiz, Coahuila.

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I was referencing Camargo Chihuahua. It is located West of Musquiz. I think it's full name Santa Rosalia Camargo. My spelling of the town Camargo was wrong in my previous posts.

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I live in Victoria, BC, Canada. A nice place, but the weather sucks most of the time. I have been visiting this message board for years, assessing the pros and cons of living in Mexico, and more specifically, Lake Chapala/Ajijic. I retire in a couple of years and thought the ressession we are living through would be a good opportunity to see what happens to the crime rate in Mexico during an economic downturn. I read posts such as this with great interest. I try to weed out the posts that link to "alarmist" articles and, on the opposite end, those from expats that appear to be in "denial" at times. I am looking for a true picture of the risks of living in Mexico. My immediate reaction to articles expressing how dangerous some areas are and that they should be avoided because they are ruled by organized crime is that the government is unwilling/unable to do anything about it, and thus every part of the country could become the same. On the other hand, I hear if one limits their risk by taking precautions, you can "feel" safe. At times this seems to include fortifying your home and not leaving it unoccupied for long. If this is true, and is acceptable to residents because some places in the US have high crime rates (usually in much larger cities), then I think they are in "denial". The lakeside area sounds like a wonderful place when considering climate/culture/cost of living and a lot of the basics in life. It's the crime rate (real or imaginary?) that makes me feel uneasy. I will keep monitoring in hopes that things improve for those living in Mexico and gets to the point where I feel comfortable making the move. Thanks for enduring my ramble.

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