Going Against the Cartel


“He knows who I am. He knows my schedule, where I am at any time during the day, as well as the names and ages of my family members. He knows the schools my children attend and the market where my wife shops on Thursday afternoons. He is all too close to me yet I know nothing about him — not even his name. I am afraid for the lives of my family and my own.”

Believe it or not, I heard this terrifying account from an insurance claims adjuster, as he was relating an encounter he had during a routine visit to the scene of a car crash — and I was about to discover it was not an isolated incident. Why would someone threaten insurance claims adjusters and their families?

The Mexican drug cartels were ruthless, killing anyone who interfered with their operations accidentally or intentionally. Armed conflicts between the cartels and the Mexican government, and among the rival cartels, permeated the fabric of our work and social structure. At the time of this case, three cartels competed for jurisdiction over our city: the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas and Los Negros. The Gulf Cartel had dominated the drug trade for years. It hired corrupt, elite, former military soldiers to serve as its private army, eliminating anyone who stood between the cartel and its mission. However, these brutal military elite soon realized they could logistically run drug trafficking ...

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