For anyone considering driving the coast road from Merida to Texas–don’t! Unless you want to run the risk of being abducted at gunpoint, and robbed of your belongings. We just returned from a trip to the US, mainly to attend a music conference in Chicago, but also to drive our Texas-plated Grand Cherokee out of the country and import it back in through Laredo. We became permanent residents last February and had done this for my Jeep in July through Grupo Cuevas in Laredo. At that time, we had gone up the coast to Ciudad Victoria then on through Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo; and we had returned the same way. This trip, we were leaving through Matamoros. Forty minutes north of Ciudad Victoria, we were accosted by five men in a pick-up wearing camouflage and flak jackets with “Policia” caps and brandishing automatic weapons and handguns. They drove us off a side road approximately 35 minutes (very fast) to a nondescript rancho where they held us for 4 hours while they went through and robbed us of most valuables, continually demanding more money. Since they didn’t hide their faces, and, as we observed at one point, they took very large plastic bags out of the trunk of one of their vehicles, we were convinced they would kill us (or else why take us so far from anything?). After a couple of hours, the jefes arrived and one addressed us in English saying they wouldn’t hurt us but they just needed more money. We explained (again) that they had everything already and we weren’t rich people. After conferring among themselves for another hour or so, he told us “what the boys had done was a mistake.” And that we were in “a black Grand Cherokee” and “they had been looking for guns and drugs.” He said they were going to give us our stuff back and let us go. I asked him if they were going to kill us and he said, “No, no, we just needed some money.” He also asked if there was any kind of device in our Jeep, our phones, or the computer that the Americans could use to track them. They drove us back the way we came, and about 10 minutes before we got to the highway, the driver got out of our Jeep, walked back to the pick-up, got in and they drove back toward the rancho. My husband jumped out of the back seat and into the driver’s seat and we raced to the highway, turned north and drove as fast as we could to the border. The FBI agent we reported to in Houston told us that, obviously, they weren’t cartel or we wouldn’t be here today. They were just thugs. Small consolation that wouldn’t have helped knowing as it was happening. Did we get our stuff back? One American cel phone, one video camera (no cables), and one credit card (and the Jeep, of course). We’re now a statistic but not one of the worst statistics. We’ve been driving that route for 18 years but we sold the Jeep after we got to Houston and will never drive again.”
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
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