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maryannborman

Loredo Crossing Shakedown Problem

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This past Thursday, a friend of mine and his passenger who are Mexican US citizens crossed the border at Loredo and were stopped by several Mexican Federal soldiers and a group of about 8 civilian men who identified themselves as Zetas. This was just a stones throw past the border checkpoint on the main road. They were told that they had to pay $300 to assure safe passage on the road. The passenger in the car behind them driven by a American gringo was also stopped. He refused to pay and drove off from behind them. One of the federal soldiers who stopped my friend got on the phone and called someone and said in Spanish that a car was coming down the roads towards the person on the other end of the phone, giving the description of the car with orders to stop them. My friends paid the protection money and were waved on. About a mile down the road they passed the American beside his car which had been stopped by four federal soldiers and a rag tag bunch of about 12 civilians. They reluctantly drove on by. When they reached Monterray they attempted to report it with a descrption of the car and license number to the federal soldiers they met on the road outside Monterray and were told to mind thier own business. They did and proceeded to thier destination.

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This past Thursday, a friend of mine and his passenger who are Mexican US citizens crossed the border at Loredo and were stopped by several Mexican Federal soldiers and a group of about 8 civilian men who identified themselves as Zetas. This was just a stones throw past the border checkpoint on the main road. They were told that they had to pay $300 to assure safe passage on the road. The passenger in the car behind them driven by a American gringo was also stopped. He refused to pay and drove off from behind them. One of the federal soldiers who stopped my friend got on the phone and called someone and said in Spanish that a car was coming down the roads towards the person on the other end of the phone, giving the description of the car with orders to stop them. My friends paid the protection money and were waved on. About a mile down the road they passed the American beside his car which had been stopped by four federal soldiers and a rag tag bunch of about 12 civilians. They reluctantly drove on by. When they reached Monterray they attempted to report it with a descrption of the car and license number to the federal soldiers they met on the road outside Monterray and were told to mind thier own business. They did and proceeded to thier destination.

Marty - thanks for posting this - which crossing did they use at Laredo?

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We also drove back to Chapala from Laredo on Thursday, left at 7a.m.,arrived Chapala 5:30 p.m., saw nothing unusual except that we saw hundreds of military vehicles, in several groups, some driving, some parked along highways, between Laredo and Saltillo. There were many APC's, open trucks, machine gun mounts, hummers, etc. Hopefully an overwhelming force will discourage the type of activity your friends encountered.

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A very nasty and scary story - not what we want to hear, but my thanks for passing it on,information is always good.

If Marty's friend had looked across the river (I assume he was stopped on Coloso) he would have seen the sniper from the grassy knoll who shot President Kennedy in Dallas up in a tree on the American side covering the backs of the New Alliance patrol.

Seriously this story is pure 100% BS. I live in Nuevo LOREDO and this would have been common knowledge by now. First, it is hard to imagine the army and Zetas teaming up to do anything besides kill each other. Second--The US consulate in Nuevo Laredo is very proactive and this would have been reported through one of their sources if not directly by the victims and disseminated by e-mail. There is no way this would have happened on Coloso---absolutely would not happen.

I have no comment on the poster's credibility, but his FRIEND is either pulling his leg or for whatever reason outright lying.

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I've crossed at Colombia Bridge 4 times in the past 40 days and have had no problems whatsoever. Twice the Federal Police pulled me over just West of the checkpoint to inquire about my safety concerns. I've probably crossed at least a dozen times this year alone without problem. The only problem I've had was on the last trip when I think I got food poisoning from the chicken livers/gizzards at the Love Truck Stop in Encinal. Maybe the narcos had something to do with that, I'm not sure.

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My neighbor must have read this same post...he just came over...said he was a Zeta so I gave him $300.00 and my knock off Rolex....He let me keep my car.

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I heard a similar story in July, from a friend who said she was stopped coming out of Laredo, by a large group of Federal police and non-uniformed people, and although they did not identify themselves as Zetas, did demand USD$300.00. My friend explained that she only had about USD$80, and they took that and let her pass. She was quite shaken up. I do not doubt that this happened to her, and it may be that these sorts of operations are run for a very short time, and there is no reporting, or the reports are not investigated.

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What? Did these people get stopped just past the Laredo Bridge on Coloso in NL or just past the 18 mile checkpoint? My impression from the OP was they were stopped just beyond the 18 mile checkpoint where I always manage a redlight. My last 3 drives down I've also been stopped a 100 meters beyond the 18 mile checkpoint by mostly uniformed Federales.

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If Marty's friend had looked across the river (I assume he was stopped on Coloso) he would have seen the sniper from the grassy knoll who shot President Kennedy in Dallas up in a tree on the American side covering the backs of the New Alliance patrol.

Seriously this story is pure 100% BS. I live in Nuevo LOREDO and this would have been common knowledge by now. First, it is hard to imagine the army and Zetas teaming up to do anything besides kill each other. Second--The US consulate in Nuevo Laredo is very proactive and this would have been reported through one of their sources if not directly by the victims and disseminated by e-mail. There is no way this would have happened on Coloso---absolutely would not happen.

I have no comment on the poster's credibility, but his FRIEND is either pulling his leg or for whatever reason outright lying.

Arroyo Grande:

I posted this information in good faith to warn others who may be crossing the Loredo border of an incident that I believe to be an accurate descrption of what traspired. I have no reason to not believe what was told to me. The friend involved in this incident has been a close personal friend for over 15 years and has made this trip at least three times a year to visit relatives by car without incident. He and his wife are trustwothy people, so much so that I entrusted them to drive family members over that same border late last year, without incident. He was extremely upset over the incident and reported it to me since they have have subsequently cancelled a December trip by car and are flying instead. As a Mexican born, educated and raised in this area he was extremely disturbed and offended that this was happening to him as well as other persons visiting his native land.

As for the military and Zetas partnering, another friend I checked with upon hearing about the incident who is with the American consulate in another border city has indicated that that type of relationship between cartel members and the military is not unheard of; however, he indicated that what is more likely is that the military uniforms were either counterfit or stolen and were used for subterfuge. He also said that this is a not uncommon practice and has been reported to the counsulate.

Incidently, for what it is worth since posting this message I have had four PMs which reported similair incidents after leaving Loredo involving themselves or a relative. They all indicated that thier attempt to post on the website was deleted.

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What? Did these people get stopped just past the Laredo Bridge on Coloso in NL or just past the 18 mile checkpoint? My impression from the OP was they were stopped just beyond the 18 mile checkpoint where I always manage a redlight. My last 3 drives down I've also been stopped a 100 meters beyond the 18 mile checkpoint by mostly uniformed Federales.

I am not sure, he just said a mile or so past the checkpoint.

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Given the problems at Laredo,as we are driving down to to Lake Chapala for the month of Nov. Would it be safer entering Mexico at the Eagle Pass/Piedas Negras crossing? We would then take 57 South to Saltillo bypassing Monterrey.I am hoping some of you have

some experience/opinions with this route.

Thanks,

Bill

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Given the problems at Laredo,as we are driving down to to Lake Chapala for the month of Nov. Would it be safer entering Mexico at the Eagle Pass/Piedas Negras crossing? We would then take 57 South to Saltillo bypassing Monterrey.I am hoping some of you have

some experience/opinions with this route.

Thanks,

Bill

You will definitely get differing opinions on this, but I would tell you to stay with Laredo / Columbia. The route to Eagle Pass is where the CDN man was killed in, I believe, July, when he tried to run from the "posse". There have been other incidents previous to that as well.

Also, when driving that route north (to Eagle Pass) in May, we were stopped by (real) military at a (real) checkpoint and told to be extremely careful as cars were being stopped and taken in the last 150 km or so before the border. We had no issues, but I feel the Laredo to Monterrey cuota route is the much more public and safer way to go.

I do like the Zacatecas to Saltillo route, but would head toward Laredo after that. And, the new highway from Saltillo to Monterrey is done, it is really nice and straight and fast, too.

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This thread recounts two incidents of this happening, not by the people they happened to, but by their friends. I don't doubt the veracity of either post. But I'm curious. Was either event reported to the American consulate in Guad? If not, why not? It does seem strange that neither event made the papers (the Reporter or the Borderland Beat blog). Also that the consulate hasn't issued a warning citing these incidents.

I'm planning to cross there at the end of November, and this is of some concern to me. Marty, cosalamx, any additional details would be greatly appreciated.

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Now, why would any Moderator here be deleting posts like that?

That was my first reaction to his comment. I probably should not have been so harsh in my characterization of the original post since it now seems the OP was sincere. But I live in Nuevo Laredo and travel for business to Monterrey frequently. I cross the border every day and I drive to Monterrey twice a month on the highway where this incident reportedly occurred. Obviously I try to keep aware of what is happening with respect to narco activity and I think I am knowledgable about the highway conditions in the Tamaulipas/Nuevo Leon area. I have sent a cut/paste of the original post to a consular officer I communicate with at the Nuevo Laredo consulate. If he responds I will post his remarks here.

Because Monterrey/Saltillo to Laredo is the most direct route on the best roads from central Mexico, narco reténes on Highway 85 are obviously a serious matter and there are already posts expressing concern. The suggestion that the Mexican military in this sector is cooperating with Zetas to shakedown motorists is ludicrous. Zetas have been known to disquise themselves as military when carrying out specific operations--most notably the assassination of the PRI candidate for Tamaulipas governor Rudolfo Torre Cantu in June--but the idea that some would be disquised and others dressed as civilians seems odd. Also Zetas do not identify themselves as Zetas, but maybe their affiliation was just a guess by the OP's friends.

I don't think we are going to get any more specific information about where this incident happened because it is obvious the OP himself is not familiar with the area. But I do think it would be important to know what time of day this incident occurred. The Zetas are usually very careful about when and where they operate and given the high visibility of the Mexican military on this highway this could not possibly been a lengthy operation and almost certainly would have been conducted in the dark.

I won't question the OP's motives, but this post was like tossing a live grenade into a crowded room. For personal reasons since I travel this highway regularly I would like to know a few more of the details. We get all sorts of unsubstantiated, wild rumours about Zeta activity in and around Nuevo Laredo and surprisingly this one hasn't made the rounds.

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This is the response I got from the consular officer in Nuevo Laredo.

Dear . . .

Im unaware of the incident you describe. Ill try to get more information on it.

Ill copy the email about wardens to you separately.

Thanks.

/s/

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That was my first reaction to his comment. I probably should not have been so harsh in my characterization of the original post since it now seems the OP was sincere. But I live in Nuevo Laredo and travel for business to Monterrey frequently. I cross the border every day and I drive to Monterrey twice a month on the highway where this incident reportedly occurred. Obviously I try to keep aware of what is happening with respect to narco activity and I think I am knowledgable about the highway conditions in the Tamaulipas/Nuevo Leon area. I have sent a cut/paste of the original post to a consular officer I communicate with at the Nuevo Laredo consulate. If he responds I will post his remarks here.

Because Monterrey/Saltillo to Laredo is the most direct route on the best roads from central Mexico, narco reténes on Highway 85 are obviously a serious matter and there are already posts expressing concern. The suggestion that the Mexican military in this sector is cooperating with Zetas to shakedown motorists is ludicrous. Zetas have been known to disquise themselves as military when carrying out specific operations--most notably the assassination of the PRI candidate for Tamaulipas governor Rudolfo Torre Cantu in June--but the idea that some would be disquised and others dressed as civilians seems odd. Also Zetas do not identify themselves as Zetas, but maybe their affiliation was just a guess by the OP's friends.

I don't think we are going to get any more specific information about where this incident happened because it is obvious the OP himself is not familiar with the area. But I do think it would be important to know what time of day this incident occurred. The Zetas are usually very careful about when and where they operate and given the high visibility of the Mexican military on this highway this could not possibly been a lengthy operation and almost certainly would have been conducted in the dark.

I won't question the OP's motives, but this post was like tossing a live grenade into a crowded room. For personal reasons since I travel this highway regularly I would like to know a few more of the details. We get all sorts of unsubstantiated, wild rumours about Zeta activity in and around Nuevo Laredo and surprisingly this one hasn't made the rounds.

I appreciate that you have taken my post in good faith and undertaken some further investigation. The incident occurred at 5:00am on the morning of Thurday, September 30th. It was pitch dark at that time, and the group who stopped them had large lanterns. He said that it was just a few miles past the checkpoint. I will ask him now that he is safely home, if he knows specifically where it was. As I said in my first post another friend I spoke with who works in the the Juarez Counsulate intimated to me that he believed that the men in military uniforms were most likely not "real" police. He also said that some "Wanna Be" groups are representing themselves as Zetas. However either way they had rifles and automatic weapons and presented a "real" threat to my friend, which obviously worked. Also I personally continue to get PMs from others who have experienced a similar incident within the past 2 months, all in the early am or late night. As I said previously he reported the incident to the Federal Police he saw on the road in the Monterrey area. I don't think it occurred to him to report it to the Consulate in Guad.

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We drive straight through, leaving Laredo or Chapala after first light, arriving well before dark. Perhaps the cockroaches are more comfortable in the dark.

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I appreciate that you have taken my post in good faith and undertaken some further investigation.

My interest is more than internet curiousity because I have a dog in the hunt. I live in Nuevo Laredo with my family and travel regularly on the highway where your friends say this happened. If something did happen I will do whatever I can--no matter how small it might be--to try to stop it.

I find it baffling that people who have personally endured the terrifying experience of a narco retén and who read this forum would not post about it but would send anonymous PMs to the OP who is reporting a second hand experience. I would suggest that anyone who has been stopped by armed civilians and robbed on a Mexican highway report the incident to the nearest US Consulate. This is the e-mail address of the consulate in Nuevo Laredo. In my opinion they take these reports seriously and they pass information along to the Mexican military.

nuevolaredo-acs@state.gov

The military and the Zetas hate each other and are at war in Tamaulipas. The military has highly trained units stationed here--army and marines--who are hunting and eliminating any Zeta foot soldiers they can catch. The expression they use is "matando Zetas." That is common knowledge and the effort has the overwhelming support of the local population. That is why I viewed the OP with open skepticism when it stated this was a joint military/Zeta operation.

The military has hot lines for people to report cartel activity and people here use it. The elimination of five Zetas who set up a retén on the periferico on the outskirts of Monterrey in September happened because motorists reported this to SEDENA. An army unit took out 28 Zetas in a firefight outside Ciudad Mier three weeks ago based on a tip received by someone robbed at a retén on the highway. This is a directory of contact information for the military. Mexicanos use it because they are tired of this crap. Ex-pats should too.

DIRECTORIO PARA DENUNCIA CIUDADANA.

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My interest is more than internet curiousity because I have a dog in the hunt. I live in Nuevo Laredo with my family and travel regularly on the highway where your friends say this happened. If something did happen I will do whatever I can--no matter how small it might be--to try to stop it.

I find it baffling that people who have personally endured the terrifying experience of a narco retén and who read this forum would not post about it but would send anonymous PMs to the OP who is reporting a second hand experience. I would suggest that anyone who has been stopped by armed civilians and robbed on a Mexican highway report the incident to the nearest US Consulate. This is the e-mail address of the consulate in Nuevo Laredo. In my opinion they take these reports seriously and they pass information along to the Mexican military.

nuevolaredo-acs@state.gov

The military and the Zetas hate each other and are at war in Tamaulipas. The military has highly trained units stationed here--army and marines--who are hunting and eliminating any Zeta foot soldiers they can catch. The expression they use is "matando Zetas." That is common knowledge and the effort has the overwhelming support of the local population. That is why I viewed the OP with open skepticism when it stated this was a joint military/Zeta operation.

The military has hot lines for people to report cartel activity and people here use it. The elimination of five Zetas who set up a retén on the periferico on the outskirts of Monterrey in September happened because motorists reported this to SEDENA. An army unit took out 28 Zetas in a firefight outside Ciudad Mier three weeks ago based on a tip received by someone robbed at a retén on the highway. This is a directory of contact information for the military. Mexicanos use it because they are tired of this crap. Ex-pats should too.

DIRECTORIO PARA DENUNCIA CIUDADANA.

Arroyo Grande - thanks for good, solid information. Do you have a phone number people can program into their cells to report incidents. I realize a level of Spanish is going to be necessary but if people have a number already in their phones, they probably will make a call.

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My interest is more than internet curiousity because I have a dog in the hunt. I live in Nuevo Laredo with my family and travel regularly on the highway where your friends say this happened. If something did happen I will do whatever I can--no matter how small it might be--to try to stop it.

I find it baffling that people who have personally endured the terrifying experience of a narco retén and who read this forum would not post about it but would send anonymous PMs to the OP who is reporting a second hand experience. I would suggest that anyone who has been stopped by armed civilians and robbed on a Mexican highway report the incident to the nearest US Consulate. This is the e-mail address of the consulate in Nuevo Laredo. In my opinion they take these reports seriously and they pass information along to the Mexican military.

nuevolaredo-acs@state.gov

The military and the Zetas hate each other and are at war in Tamaulipas. The military has highly trained units stationed here--army and marines--who are hunting and eliminating any Zeta foot soldiers they can catch. The expression they use is "matando Zetas." That is common knowledge and the effort has the overwhelming support of the local population. That is why I viewed the OP with open skepticism when it stated this was a joint military/Zeta operation.

The military has hot lines for people to report cartel activity and people here use it. The elimination of five Zetas who set up a retén on the periferico on the outskirts of Monterrey in September happened because motorists reported this to SEDENA. An army unit took out 28 Zetas in a firefight outside Ciudad Mier three weeks ago based on a tip received by someone robbed at a retén on the highway. This is a directory of contact information for the military. Mexicanos use it because they are tired of this crap. Ex-pats should too.

DIRECTORIO PARA DENUNCIA CIUDADANA.

Maybe someone can make this a sticky so the link doesn't dissapear from view.

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Arroyo Grande - thanks for good, solid information. Do you have a phone number people can program into their cells to report incidents. I realize a level of Spanish is going to be necessary but if people have a number already in their phones, they probably will make a call.

The phone numbers are in the link above, "Directorio para denuncia ciudadana", by region.

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The phone numbers are in the link above, "Directorio para denuncia ciudadana", by region.

I should have clicked on the link - thanks.

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First, there have been a number of reports of narcos and other criminals using fake uniforms to stop people and rob them. Shortly before we left, the army acosted and shot up one of these roadblocks on Mexico 2 east of Monterrey and got weapons and fake uniforms. There was a bust withing the last week in Matamoros where 31 narcos were arrested along with weapons and military and police uniforms. These guys use cover of darkness, either in the evenings or very early mornings to pull off these highway robberies. Just another data point reinforcing the wisdom of only driving in daylight, particularly around the border.

Knowing this, these reports don't surprise me in the least. Don't assume it is actual army people involved just because the robbers are wearing uniforms. This has apparently become quite a common tactic with these border criminals.

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