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Extortion attempts made daily against 60 percent of Cancun area restaurants

Cancun, Q.R. — Head of the National Chamber of the Food Industry (Canirac) in Cancun says extortion attempts continue on a near-daily basis. Marcy Bezaleel says the restaurant sector around the state continues to experience organized crime extortion.

He detailed that 60 percent of Cámara Nacional de la Industria de Restaurantes y Alimentos Condimentados (Canirac) members, who are based mostly in Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, receive extortion calls every day.

Bezaleel says that due to the constant threats, they continually work closely with local authorities in the attempts by criminal groups to extort floor-right fees.

“On a daily basis, 60 percent of the restaurants in the state receive an extortion call. Even yesterday, a union member was threatened and when the call was followed up by Lucio Hernández, the Secretary of Public Security, it was determined that the call was made from a Jalisco prison,” he said.

Bezaleel also said the industry is aware of “hawks”, people who are sent to observe what happens in a day so they know when to strike, when to approach management and extort money. He said that that type of behavior has made many restaurant owners feel uneasy and even afraid, causing some to close up shop out of fear.

“Scaring businessmen and restaurant owners is their modus operandi to obtain profit,” he added.