Iztapalapa councillor Garza, left. Iztapalapa councillor Garza, left.

New cartel surfaces in Iztapalapa; businesses denounce extortion attempts

Business owners have reported extortion demands of up to 150,000 pesos in the Mexico City borough

A new criminal organization calling itself the “Cartel del H” is threatening businesses in the Mexico City borough of Iztapalapa, demanding exorbitant extortion payments and threatening to burn down the premises of those that don’t comply.

“We have been in office less than 20 days and … we have received reports of this kind of extortion … and of the appearance of a new cartel that we had not heard of here in Iztapalapa,” council member Olivia Garza told the newspaper Milenio.

She said that in the most extreme case reported, various armed men demanded that an owner pay 150,000 pesos (US $7,400) or they would burn down his business. The owner made a deal to pay in installments of 10,000 pesos. He made six payments but after being unable to come up with the seventh, his business was burned to the ground.

Garza said that while making rounds of the borough she has heard other reports of excessive demands by the new gang, which is going after business owners and market vendors.

She requested the immediate intervention of the Citizen Security Ministry (SSC) and the investigative police.

“The borough needs a great deal of support on this issue, that’s a responsibility of the city government,” Garza said. “The appearance of this cartel needs to be investigated with the intention of preventing the creation of more criminal cells, rather than as a reaction to the presence of new cartels.”

According to Mexico City authorities, at least 14 criminal groups operate in the capital, including La Familia Michoacana, La Unión Tepito, the Beltrán Leyva cartel and others. Their activities include narco-trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

With reports from Milenio and Infobae

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