Mexican Drug Cartel Scams Targeting Elderly Americans

Mexican drug cartel CJNG posed as U.S. Treasury officials, scamming $40M from 600 elderly Americans. U.S. authorities pursue justice, imposing sanctions. Meanwhile, Mexico grapples with legislative changes, activist tragedies, police ambushes, and economic forecasts.

Mexican Drug Cartel Scams Targeting Elderly Americans
U.S. Treasury Department unveils sanctions against CJNG, exposing their audacious scams targeting elderly Americans. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In a brazen operation, a Mexican drug cartel has been targeting elderly Americans through a series of scams, even going to the extent of posing as officials from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has described the scam and has been actively pursuing the scammers involved.

The gang's operators, linked to the Jalisco Cartel — New Generation (CJNG), have been using call centers to promote bogus offers to buy timeshare properties from Americans. These fraudulent activities have resulted in swindling at least 600 Americans out of an estimated $40 million. Additionally, the scammers have gone as far as contacting individuals, claiming to be employees of OFAC, and offering to release funds supposedly frozen by the U.S. agency.

In response to these illicit activities, OFAC has announced a new round of sanctions against three Mexican nationals and 13 companies believed to be linked to the CJNG. The cartel has been known for using extreme violence and intimidation to control the timeshare network, particularly targeting senior U.S. citizens and cheating victims out of their life savings. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has condemned these actions, highlighting the impact on the vulnerable elderly population.

The consequences of this criminal operation have been devastating. Reports have confirmed the deaths of up to eight young workers who attempted to leave their jobs at a CJNG-operated call center. This tragic outcome underscores the ruthless nature of the cartel's operations and the lengths to which they will go to maintain control.

The actions of the CJNG and their exploitation of vulnerable individuals, particularly senior citizens, have prompted strong responses from U.S. and Mexican officials. The impact of these scams extends beyond financial losses, with the emotional and psychological toll on the victims being immeasurable.

Protecting Women and Families With New Legislation in Mexico

Deputies have just passed a new law that focuses on protecting women from violence through a third party, also known as vicarious violence. This means that any action or omission intended to harm a woman, whether it's done by a relative, a person close to the victim, or even someone with whom the woman has had a relationship, will be defined and criminalized.

What's really cool about this new law is that it's not just about the woman herself, but it also considers the involvement of her children. For instance, the law now includes specific acts of violence involving children, such as threatening to harm them, using them to obtain information about the mother, or encouraging acts of physical or psychological aggression against the mother.

The Mexican State is also stepping in to protect the human rights of women and their children, both inside and outside the country, with the support of the Mexican Foreign Service. Each state will now be responsible for making this crime punishable locally, and it will have serious consequences, including grounds for divorce, loss of parental authority, and restrictions on visitation and custody of children and adolescents.

Furthermore, the law redefines family violence to include various forms of abuse, whether it's physical, verbal, emotional, or financial, regardless of whether it causes injuries. This carries penalties ranging from eight months to five years of imprisonment, and can also lead to divorce, loss of parental authority, and suspension of visitation and cohabitation.

López Obrador's Efforts in the Aftermath of Hurricane Otis

In a recent morning conference at the National Palace, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador provided an update on the ongoing relief efforts following the impact of Hurricane Otis in Acapulco. The President shared that the first 32,000 8,000 peso cleaning aid packages were distributed to families affected by the disaster. Additionally, he emphasized the continued search and rescue operation being carried out by the Navy to locate the 31 individuals who remain missing.

President López Obrador, after his seventh visit to the affected area, spoke about the dedicated efforts of a Navy operation focused on locating the missing individuals, particularly those associated with the boats that sank in the bay of Acapulco. He highlighted the collaborative approach being taken, with the involvement of affected families in the search efforts. Furthermore, the President expressed his intention to visit Acapulco for the eighth time in the upcoming week to oversee the progress of the reconstruction and provide a comprehensive report on the developments.

Acknowledging the scale of the devastation, President López Obrador revealed that 40,000 government personnel are actively engaged in the region, working tirelessly to address the needs of the victims. He also noted that while the electric power service has been fully restored, the current consumption stands at 68 percent compared to pre-hurricane levels. This is attributed to the ongoing rehabilitation of businesses and hotels that are yet to be fully functional.

Proposed Reduction of Working Hours

The proposal to reduce the standard working day from 48 to 40 hours has sparked significant debate and deliberation among members of the Chamber of Deputies. This measure, if implemented, would have far-reaching implications for the working population, particularly those covered under the Federal Labor Law (LFT).

Recently, the resolution pertaining to the reduction of working hours has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Members of the Chamber of Deputies have put forth recommendations and modifications to the initial proposal, leading to its referral back to the Constitutional Points Commission for further review.

The return of the resolution to open parliament signifies a renewed opportunity to address the recommendations put forward by the members. It is imperative to thoroughly deliberate on the proposed changes and create a revised version that encapsulates the diverse viewpoints expressed during this process.

Should the reduction from 48 to 40 hours be approved, it would primarily benefit individuals who are formally employed and entitled to the benefits outlined in the Federal Labor Law (LFT). However, it is important to note that self-employed and fee-based workers would not be encompassed within the purview of this potential alteration.

Activist Karina Rubio Domínguez Found Dead

In a devastating turn of events, the activist Karina Rubio Domínguez has been found dead in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, after 13 days of being missing. This heart-wrenching discovery has sent shockwaves through the community and raised serious concerns about the safety of activists fighting against gender violence.

Wendy Chávez, head of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Women, reported that the 36-year-old activist was found in a clandestine grave in the backyard of a house in the northwest area of the city. The authorities determined that the cause of death was cranioencephalic traumatism caused by a bullet wound, as stated by the prosecutor.

Karina Rubio Domínguez was known for her unwavering dedication to fighting against gender violence as a counselor for Renace and Vive Mujer. Her passion and commitment to this cause have left a lasting impact on the community, and her tragic passing has left a void in the efforts to combat gender-based violence.

Mexico's Economic Outlook

As of 2024, Mexico's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to experience significant growth, with the OECD projecting a 2.5 percent increase and Banxico anticipating a three percent growth rate. These levels surpass the reported two percent growth during Enrique Peña Nieto's last year in office. This article provides an in-depth analysis of Mexico's economic outlook, considering the factors influencing GDP growth and the implications for the country's position in the global economy.

The OECD's forecast for Mexico's GDP growth by the end of 2023 stands at an impressive 3.4 percent, reflecting an upward revision from the previous estimate of 3.3 percent. If this projection materializes, Mexico will outperform other Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru in 2024. Additionally, Banxico has also raised its forecast for economic activity, highlighting the potential for sustained growth in the coming years.

The OECD emphasizes the importance of investing in infrastructure and education to fully capitalize on Mexico's GDP potential and nearshoring opportunities. Specifically, a focus on skilled labor development is crucial to meet the demands of foreign companies seeking to establish operations in the country. This underscores the significance of aligning educational initiatives with the evolving needs of the labor market to ensure a competitive workforce.

Ambush Shakes Municipal Police of Fresnillo, Zacatecas

In a shocking turn of events, members of the Municipal Police of Fresnillo, Zacatecas, found themselves ambushed by a criminal commando on Paseo del Mineral Avenue, one of the municipality's key roads. The target of this heinous aggression was Antonio Soledad Perez, the director of the corporation.

During the ambush, several uniformed officers sustained serious injuries from bullets and are currently fighting for their lives in a hospital. Tragically, a police dog from the K9 unit of the corporation lost its life at the scene, and its body was left in the patrol car where it had been traveling. The brave members of the Municipal Police, despite being under attack, valiantly repelled the aggression and assisted their colleagues.

They managed to transport the director to a hospital while he was still alive. However, both the director and another policeman succumbed to their injuries, with the latter passing away while receiving medical attention. Additionally, a civilian was caught in the crossfire and tragically lost their lives at the scene of the ambush.

Delays in the COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Process

In a recent announcement, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) revealed that the pharmaceutical companies seeking sanitary registration for COVID-19 vaccines need more time to provide necessary information for authorization of commercial use.

Cofepris, through a press release, highlighted that Pfizer S.A. de C.V., the manufacturer of the Comirnaty vaccine, and ModernaTx. Inc. (represented in Mexico by Asofarma S.A. de C.V.), the producer of the monovalent Spikevax vaccine, have requested additional time to furnish the lacking elements and technical information required for the authorization process.

The regulatory authority emphasized its prioritization of evaluating these health inputs. The appointed group of examiners is eagerly awaiting the essential elements from the laboratories to expedite the evaluation process.

Coral Populations Vanish Due to Rising Sea Temperatures

Lorenzo Alvarez Filip is a marine biologist and researcher at the Academic Unit of Reef Systems of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He recently shared alarming insights about the detrimental impact of rising sea temperatures on coral populations in the Mexican Caribbean and beyond.

According to Álvarez Filip, the sea temperatures in the affected areas spiked from 29 to 34 degrees Celsius, leading to the disappearance of entire populations of certain coral species, including the elkhorn and fire coral. This distressing development has significant implications for the marine ecosystem in the region.

The destructive effects of the warming waters are not confined to the Mexican Caribbean alone. The marine biologist also highlighted the visible damage to corals in the Pacific and in the state of Veracruz, underscoring the far-reaching consequences of this environmental crisis.