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sandykayak


Oct 25, 2004, 9:48 AM

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Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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Here am I preparing to drive from Florida to Lakeside next month, and now this!!

For the past couple of days, the Miami (Florida) Herald has been reporting on the murders. 16-year old girl and 22 year old male were murdered while driving "along the back roads of the soutehrn Mexican state of Guerrero after dusk, returning form ...the small city of Cutzmala de Pinson" about an hour away from Mexico City."

Bandits forced the vehicle to pull over. The six-months pregnant 22-year-old friend was allowed to escape.

Needless to say, I am getting grief from my family. I tell them that I intend to drive to Lakeside from Laredo via the toll roads....

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/10006995.htm?1c
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque



Carron

Oct 25, 2004, 12:15 PM

Post #2 of 14 (2478 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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The boy who was driving was from Houston. I read in the Chronicle this morning that his sister said he had made the trip before to visit relatives and was very trusting and often drove on Mexico's mountainous back roads at night. The couple riding with him, both I think from Miami?, were people he did not know but hooked up with them somewhere along the border. He was also driving a fancy Nissan SUV with US plates and his family believes the killers wanted his vehicle along with the dollars they must have assumed he had with him.

Guess he should have read all the good advice here on Mex Connect about driving in Mexico. It might have saved his life.


Bubba

Oct 25, 2004, 1:17 PM

Post #3 of 14 (2468 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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If I were you, Sandy, I would worry about getting out of Miami alive. The last time I was in that awful town, the rent-a-car agencies were removing their stickers after several people were murdered driving from the airport. I have just returned from traveling the back roads of Yucatan and Quintana Roo states and we are talking lonely,desolate roads here. There were many times I was nervous out there. All you need to do whether you are in Miami or Mayapan is come to the attention of the wrong people.

Incidentally, I promise you the local cops in Guerrero know those guys and knew them to be dangerous. They were likely their buddies. I also promise you they will be out of jail in 15 years at the most - if they go to jail at all. You are on your own here as are we all but I survived Oakland and San Francisco for 30 years so I'll take my chances in the Mexican outback.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Oct 26, 2004, 10:54 AM)


sandykayak


Oct 25, 2004, 2:14 PM

Post #4 of 14 (2456 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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Yer right there, bubba. Tis a dangerous town I live in. I will follow all the right "rules of the Mexican roads "but there's good luck and then there is bad luck.

I have a 24" wooden, carved "folk art" Virgen de Guadalupe I was planning to take for good luck, but the poor girl who was murdered had a "Lupe" medalla (charm) on a chain.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


esperanza

Oct 25, 2004, 5:53 PM

Post #5 of 14 (2432 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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Driving the highways from Laredo to Lake Chapala bears no resemblance to driving the backroads of the state of Guerrero.

Let's see what an apt comparison might be...hmmm...maybe it would be like comparing driving I-35 from Houston to Austin at noon with riding around at midnight in darkest East Los Angeles.

A friend who has lived for years near the Guerrero/Michoacán state line often sends me horror stories about driving on the roads where those young people were. I have promised him that I'll never go that way, and especially at night. He's been in Mexico 35 years and won't drive those roads himself.

The bottom line is we are comparing apples with oranges. No comparison. Tell your seres queridos that you'll be fine, Sandy.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Gayla

Oct 26, 2004, 9:24 AM

Post #6 of 14 (2391 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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Sandy, Guerro is not exactly the safest of places these days. There is a huge amount of political activity happening in that state with a great deal of underhanded, illegal, dangerous and life-threatening action. Many of my friends who travel frequently and extensively in Mexico have repeated warned me to stay out of Guerro, or pass through as quickly as I can, staying on main roads only. I have a friend in Seattle who's husband was legal counsel for the State of Michoacan for years. They have very close friends that live in a town in Guerro that is about an hour off the main highway between D.F. and Acapulco. Because the risks have increased so greatly over the last couple of years, these friends have now started meeting my friend and her husband at a designated spot and escorting them up to their house!!

Jalisco, on the other hand, is stable and considerably safer. As has been pointed out, if you stay on the main roads and follow the Mexico road laws you'll probably have no difficulties. Your biggest problem may just end up being the ubiquitous topes and vados.

As for "other" protection driving down, you might consider a couple of stones. Not rocks, but specific stones. Quartz crystals contain good, positive energy and can be use to support transportion. I have one about the size of my thumb that I was given as a gift when I purchased my new car a couple of years ago. I keep it in the console between the 2 front seats. Amythest also works extremely well for me as a "power" stone, so I have a lot of it. It is considered a protection stone. Kyanite (sp?) is also a grounding/protection stone. All 3 are easy to find at any rock/gem store (or store catering to New Age/Metaphysics), take up virtually no space so they can be packed into the nooks an crannies of your luggage or purse. They're just a different form of peace of mind..........


sandykayak


Oct 26, 2004, 9:38 AM

Post #7 of 14 (2386 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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thanks, esperanza and gayla, hmmmm... "rocks" now..I used to dangle a crystal rock (not sure what kind) from my rear view mirror. I was wondering if pepper spray is a) legal or b) adviseable???

also, bubba, will be delighted to hear that in today's paper and according to the FBI: "Miami-Dade had the third highest violent-crime rate of any metro area in the country."

I'm going to order a Spanish speaking car alarm that has a panic "Help me, help me" in a woman's voice. Ha! I guess it's supposed to "talk" someone out of stealing your car!!
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Papirex


Oct 26, 2004, 10:32 PM

Post #8 of 14 (2329 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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First I would like to comment that attacks with fatalities such as the recent one in Guerrero were not that uncommon 20 or 30 years ago in Mexico. They probably occurred once a month at that time. God only knows how many plain old robberies there were. Bandits used to set up roadblocks then, and still do in remote areas now, but that is very infrequently done now.

There were no Cuotas then. The only thing we had were the roads now called Libres. Every Mexican friend used to tell me ¡don’t drive at night! Nobody was worried about loose livestock, or cars without lights then. I still follow that advice, though not as strictly as I used to.

Yes, you can buy pepper spray in Mexico. I bought some last June in Ajijic at the variety store across from the plaza. I don’t know the name of the place, they had just finished an enlargement when we were there. When you walk in past the cash registers, it opens up to a larger room in the back. The pepper spray was on a shelf behind the cash register. They cost $70 Pesos for a 22 gr.Can. They are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket unnoticeably.

I have since then found another source, and cheaper too. Marke http://www.tecnofin.com.mx/marke/ has them for $149 Pesos for 3 cans. The brand name is “Cobra.” On the home page, click on the “Seguridad” link. You can buy online, and they will ship within Mexico.

We are lucky, there is a Marke outlet in Mexico City, my wife makes frequent trips there to see her family. She has bought several things from them. Everything she has bought has been of very good quality.

If you become a member, they will mail you a catalog every month or so, and you will get a 10% discount on purchases. The discount helps to lessen the bite of the 15% IVA tax. Don’t ask me how to become a member, my wife is the turbo shopper in this family.

As to the advisability of carrying pepper spray, that is a personal choice you must make. In another life I was a military policeman. The people I had to sometimes control were always armed better than I was. No backup. One thing you must never do is to threaten anyone with a weapon. If you feel you have no other option but to pull it out, use it, don’t hesitate or you are going to lose. If you are not mentally prepared to use a weapon when necessary, do not arm yourself. You will be safer.

I personally think that little rocks have a long way to go to equal the stopping power of a rabbits foot.

Rex









"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo

(This post was edited by RexC on Oct 26, 2004, 10:58 PM)


PeggyS

Oct 27, 2004, 12:19 AM

Post #9 of 14 (2322 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico

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A few years ago, I was with a group on the back roads of Guerrero, we had two rented vans carrying six or eight passengers each, fifteen in all. The trip was sponsored by the Archeological Society of Miami. I'm not a member, but it was open to the various Mensa local groups also. We were on those back roads, heading for a waterfall and archeological site, when we came around a corner of the country road and saw many armed men ahead of us (armed kids also, I should add). It was too late to turn around, and you couldn't speed past - they had dug a deep hole across the road and the car would have simply gone nose down into the hole. I guess there were too many of us to kill, so we were simply charged an outrageous "toll" each, and allowed to continue on our way. They had logs off to the side with which they filled in the large hole in the road, and off we went.

Our leader and driver, Seth Lefkow of Miami, spoke great local Spanish and had lived in that country for some years, having brought his family there and opened a business - he had enough sense to take the family back to Miami after a few years - had to answer our questions about what we would do to get back, on this one road, to our hotel. So, as we approached the deep hole in the road and all the armed men, we all leaned out of the window and shouted, "We already paid", and all the yelling had the guys scrambling to get the logs into the road before our vans got there. We sailed through with no problem. I hate to think what would have happened if we had been two or three to a car. After all. it was the middle of the day. And with no other traffic in sight.

This was our fourth trip - previously, Palenque, Chichen Itza, and Uxmal and environs, and it was the only problem we had. And I had twenty-some years before that of exploring Mexico on my own. But to say it was very scary is an understatement.

I too have been reading the Florida newspapers and have many questions. Where did this young man get the expensive SUV? Rental? I thought all the kids were friends, but one paper said that they had just met. Lots of questions. Imagine having a 16 year old, and as her friend said, hands tied behind her back, pleading for her life, kneeling in the road, and they put a shot through her head. Hard to understand. Glad I'm out of there.


Marlene


Oct 27, 2004, 3:57 PM

Post #10 of 14 (2263 views)

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Re: [RexC] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico - Pepper Spray

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Be careful with the pepper spray - if you are downwind YOU will go blind (temporarily)!

One non-thinking tourist visiting our city decided he didn't like the squeegy kids (aka annoying traffic light window washers in any city) so he whipped out the pepper spray and let him have it. Turns out all the passengers in his mini-van paid the price for his irrational behavior because of the wind direction. My Mexican friend in the car told him to drive fast since he had just committed an assault and could end up back in the jail they had just visited and brought gifts, to do a good deed for humanity as part of a Spanish language program. Apparently the young window washer was left in pain by the roadside. Not cool.


sandykayak


Oct 28, 2004, 8:38 AM

Post #11 of 14 (2205 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico - Pepper Spray

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yeah, I knew about the pitfalls of being downwind.....

today's www.herald.com newspaper had a report by the survivor: "As they motored toward the border..in ...state of Guerrero, a Lincoln Town Car with three men inside kept braking and blocking them from passing.

At one point, where the highway intersected with a small dirt road, the car slowed as if to turn, but instead stopped and blocked both lanes. A man stepped out with a gun and ordered them to pull over."

They then forced the victims into the back of their van and drove both vehicles down the dirt road searching for a desolate area.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Papirex


Oct 28, 2004, 3:13 PM

Post #12 of 14 (2162 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico - Pepper Spray

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Marlene, I think the ignoramus that attacked the kid would have benefited from a few months in jail, and permanent deportation. If he didn’t benefit from it, the people of Mexico, and all of us ex-pats would.

Pepper spray is a serious weapon, it is not a repellant. The active ingredient is capsaicin, an alkaloid. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers. It causes severe pain, and disables the victim for at least 15 minutes. Not the sort of thing to be used against someone that annoys you. It is used a lot in Alaska as defense against bear attacks, that is how effective it is.

The man obviously did not read the literature that came with it. It warns of the misuse of pepper spray. It is not the sort of thing to be used as a “test” on a dog or another person, unless you want to make a lifelong enemy. What do you suppose that kid thinks of all Americans now?

If anyone wants to learn more about capsaicin, do a Google search. There has been an amazing amount of research done concerning this substance. There are several medical uses for it, and it is used as an insect repellant. I would advise caution when using plain pepper spray as a repellant. Some people in Alaska tried spraying it around their campsites, in the hope it would repel bears. It turned out that when it is dry it tastes good to bears and attracts them.

It is used in gels, creams, and sprays for chronic pain relief by arthritis patients, etc. The gels and creams caused pain in the hands of the person applying it. Roll on and stick forms were developed to eliminate that problem.

One medical researcher who accidentally inhaled some of it in crystalline form said “It is not toxic, but if you inhale some of it, you will wish you were dead.”

Anyone that is considering using pepper spray for defense should know how to read, and remain awake when using it. If they have trouble tying their own shoes, they should forget about it.

Rex



"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo

(This post was edited by RexC on Oct 28, 2004, 3:15 PM)


sandykayak


Oct 29, 2004, 9:01 AM

Post #13 of 14 (2112 views)

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Re: [RexC] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico - Pepper Spray

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errr. I forgot it!!! too many issues...thanks.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


sfmacaws


Oct 29, 2004, 12:50 PM

Post #14 of 14 (2076 views)

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Re: [RexC] Murderous carjacking in southern Mexico - Pepper Spray

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While you may be able to purchase it in Mexico, my understanding is that it can cause problems if carried when crossing the border. I was told it is considered a weapon and not permitted - who knows what an individual border guard will decide to do if he finds it. Also I wonder what would happen in a military inspection?

I forgot a cannister in my RV one year, I was not pleased with myself for that one. I ended up leaving it in Akumal so I wouldn't have to travel back through the military stops with it.

What I do carry in my RV is a can of EasyOff aerosol oven cleaner. It will have a much more disastrous effect when sprayed on an attackers face. Don't use this unless you really feel you are physically threatened. Still, if you need it, it can give you time to get away. The good part of this is that it can be carried without suspicion in any RV or kept by the door at a house. "just cleaning the oven when I was surprised by this attack" may sound a little lame but it beats trying to explain something illegal.

I think I'm going to ask about pepper spray when I cross the border this year, it would be a nice thing to be able to carry - particularly when walking in an unknown or doubtful area. I don't think I could pull off saying I forgot the oven cleaner was in my pocket.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán


 
 
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