‘Willful Blindness': Deportees Becoming Easy Prey for Gangs Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO — Minutes after he was deported from the U.S., Francisco Narciso walked into a bus station to purchase a ticket home.As he paid his fare, a stranger approached."Do you know how things work here in Nuevo Laredo?” the middle-aged man asked.“Come with me. We can do things the hard way, or the easy way.”Narciso refused. The man raised his shirt and Narciso saw a gun in his waistband."If you make a move, I will blow your head off right here, and no one will say a damn thing,” the stranger said. “We own this place."Narciso was kidnapped, beaten and threatened with death. He was released five days later, only after his girlfriend in Ohio paid nearly $4,000 in multiple ransom payments. Over two recent days in Mexico, he gave his account of his ordeal to The Dallas Morning News and The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. Fearing for his safety, he asked that his location be kept secret.His kidnapping is an increasingly common occurrence along the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the Texas-Tamaulipas region, immigrants rights groups say. Narciso and other immigrants deported by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have become easy prey for violent criminal groups desperate for money. The gangs hold the deportees until their relatives in the U.S. pay thousands of dollars for their release.Between January and June 2017, the U.S. deported more than 31,000 Mexicans through the states of Tamaulipas and Coahuila, according to Mexico’s immigration service. The states are considered the most dangerous crossing points into Mexico, so perilous that the U.S. State Department regularly issues travel alerts and warnings for Americans.   Continue reading...

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