Crypto coin fraud and the story of a Chilean killed in Sinaloa

Cryptocurrencies and fraud allegations: the story of Chilean businessman Oscar Brito who was found murdered and dismembered in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Crypto coin fraud and the story of a Chilean killed in Sinaloa
Cryptomoney and Fraud: The Story of the Chilean Entrepreneur Who Was Killed and Dismembered in Sinaloa. Image: Pxfuel

Crypto money was Oscar Brito's obsession. The young man traveled to Mexico to get started in a company that offered to buy cars in exchange for digital money, but he never returned. His murdered and dismembered body was found in a barren place in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. A Chilean citizen, who promoted a system of crypto-money and has been accused of fraud in Argentina, is one of the two people whose dismembered bodies were found at the end of June in two suitcases in the city of Mazatlán, in northwestern Mexico.

The body is Oscar Brito Ibarra, 30, according to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, which said the other body was that of Argentine Ignacio Ibarra (despite the coincidence of the surnames, there is no known relationship between the two), one of his partners in the venture that would allow them to use digital money as a bargaining chip to buy cars. "He never intended to hurt anyone, he was never in anything shady," his friend Francisco Beltrán told the Chilean newspaper. However, the man warned: "Maybe some third person could have involved him in something".

On Sunday, June 28, two black suitcases abandoned on a pile of garbage caught the attention of a person who was walking in front of a commercial plaza, near the Hacienda del Seminario development in Mazatlán, in the state of Sinaloa, a city known for its beaches. When he went to check it out, he found that inside both suitcases - one for travel and one for sport - human remains were found, so he reported them to the police. According to the Sinaloa State Attorney General's Office. Until last week, the victims had not been officially identified, as this is an open investigation and no details can be released.

The local media reported that the two men were abducted in the early hours of Sunday morning in the Villa Carey neighborhood, near the place where they were abandoned. Although at first it was said that the bodies were dismembered, it later transpired that they were put inside the suitcases while they were still alive, causing them to die of asphyxiation. Despite the discovery, the mayor of Mazatlán, Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres, said the tourist city is calm in terms of security and that the discovery of the bodies is not something that should alert citizens and visitors.

Together with Brito and Ibarra, the Argentine Cristián Cabrera also participated in his initiative. The two Argentines were allegedly representatives of a company called Comercializadora Latinoamericana de Automotores (CLA), which brokers the purchase and sale of vehicles between customers. The Colombian, on the other hand, "mined" the crypto-currency known as OneCoin, which was developed in Bulgaria by a well-known businesswoman related to this specialty who, however, has been accused of fraud on several occasions.

"It's as if Bitcoin and Herbalife got married and had a son who was a fraudster," the Chilean newspaper quoted experts who often use that phrase.

The entrepreneur who created the OneCoin system, however, left the public scene and the currency was devalued precisely because of the accusations. However, Brito was adamant that he intended to create a big business with crypto money. The three South Americans met within the last few months. They traveled to meet at different points between Argentina and Chile and then traveled to Mexico, to get to know the company's offices and for Brito, an outsider, to get acquainted, before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the international flow of passengers.

All three were supposedly seeking to empower their proposal to combine CLA's work in South America with crypto money. According to the sources cited by La Tercera, they "offered vehicles with reserve prices that were much lower than the initial ones". However, the current situation is far from the entrepreneurs' dream. In Argentina, dozens of people have reported being swindled by CLA in 2019. So far, neither the cars promised nor the money invested has reached their end-users. The Yahoo news portal even describes the venture as a "scam".

The last information about Ibarra and Brito is that they traveled to Mazatlan on June 20. However, it is not known why they made the trip: it is not known if they came to those Mexican beaches for leisure or work. "I'm not going to give any opinion about Oscar, because his family asked me not to talk to the news or anything. All I can say is that he was a great man," Cabrera told La Tercera. The official pages of his enterprise are not active and you cannot even consult the official site.

The case has been linked, with no evidence so far, to organized crime. In Sinaloa, the Pacific Cartel, once controlled by the prominent Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is now serving a life sentence in the United States, dominates the Plaza through his sons, the "Chapitos", and another faction, controlled by Ismael "Mayo" Zambada.