In a round-up on violence in Latin America last June, we wrote about how 900 bus drivers had been killed in Guatemala City. I just read this morning that police have made arrests of the groups extorting large sums of money from the bus drivers. InSight Crime reports that a group of 10 “charged bus owners around $2,000 monthly between 2009 and 2013, extorting a total of over $125,000. Two other extortion groups have also recently been convicted, with the three groups together charging bus owners and drivers over $6,400 monthly.” That’s a lot of extortion–it’s no wonder bus owners were having trouble coming up with the dough.
The interesting part of the story (besides the fact that the extortioners were tracked down and are now facing justice) is the fact that the extortions and killings weren’t done directly by the powerful gangs in the city. Instead, the extortioners seemed to have contracted with the gangs–that is, “paying them a quota in order to operate.”
The article notes that while this is characteristic of the Mafia, it is also becoming increasingly used by the Zetas in Mexico: “The Zetas also used a “franchise” model, collecting fees from criminal groups which are allowed to use the Zetas name and reputation to conduct their own activities.”
Yikes, that’s just what we need, McZetas!