Last week we told you about the incident involving a Belizean businessman who received a very serious extortion threat while staying at a Hotel in Chetumal. The Belizean, who was vacationing at the hotel at the time of the incident had to be rescued by Mexican Navy and brought back to Belize, according to a report carried out by the Mexican Newspaper Por Esto who at the time did not reveal the name of the victim.
Tonight, thanks to our friends at Seven News, we have the victim’s full account of the incident from the moment he was contacted by the alleged receptionist of the Hotel to when he was escorted to Belizean territory by the Mexican Navy.
In the interview the victim asked for his identity to be withheld because the threats he received were so direct and made use of so much detailed personal information that he is still afraid for his safety. But according to the victim he felt compelled to come forward, to advise the public of the dangers that lie when Belizeans go over the boarder to Chetumal for a weekend getaway. The incident played out on Easter Monday , March 28th, at 11:40 at night in his room at the Fiesta Inn, when he, his wife and daughter were awakened by a person he thought to be the receptionist:...
Voice of the Victim
"It was the receptionist who addressed me by name and told me that the commandant of the police was there and wanted to speak to me, said to me yes sir and addressed me by name again. He also addressed me by name again when he came on the phone telling me that there was an incident taking place in the vicinity about a block from Fiesta Inn, including some Traficantes and that two of them were registered in the room next to me and so he wanted to let us know that he was looking out for our safety. By this time I was already scared out of my widths, based on the situation because the first conversation he had said that if I hear gun fired or anything I should just stay put, lay down on the room. The second conversation, he said that for security purposes he just needed to make some verification of my status, of the details concerning me, which the hotel had already had some of those details. He wanted to know our full names of everyone in the room and our ages. He wanted to know the vehicle I was driving, color of it, make etc. for security purposes I complied. He asked me if I had any cellular phones and how many. I let him know how many. He ask which ones were Belize and if I had Mexican. I said yes I had a Mexican phone. He asked that the Belize phones be turned off immediately and to leave on the Mexican phone. He then hung up and said he would call back. He didn't call back on the Mexican phone and that is where things took a different shift. He then asked me that for security purposes again, he needed to know how much money I was carrying. I said very little and I gave him the amount I was carrying. He then told me that he would put me on hold, not to release this call and that he would check on me every 5-10 minutes to make sure I was okay and do not leave the room."
According to the victim, after about an hour of constantly receiving phone calls on his Mexican cell phone, the person on the other line proceeded to change his story, saying that he is one of the top bosses of the Sinaloa Cartel. Things took an interesting twist as persons on the line proceeded to ask the victim for money.
Voice of the Victim
“At that time he asked me that if I would like to make a contribution, (that's how he put it) a small contribution to the cartel, that they were asking all the people they had contacted in the hotel for a contribution. I said and how much is that contribution and he said $5,000 Pesos. I agreed. I said I'll put it in an envelope and slide it under the door. He said no sir, you will do no such thing. You go to walk across to the Oxxo, which is 3 blocks in the hotel. He said 'do you know the Oxxo?' I said I think I know where it is. And you are going to deposit $500 Pesos into 10 phone numbers that I will give you and I said no, I am not going to no Oxxo. He said, well your girlfriend, your wife, whosever is there with you will have to go and do it for you. I said that will not happen either. That was when the conversation shifted and then he gave me to another man, who asked me how much I value my life and how much was I willing to pay to get out of that hotel alive, for me, my wife or anybody that was with me. I said a life has no value sir. He says exactly. Well what you are going to do is first break of dawn, you are going to go to a bank and we will instruct you. I then said that I am not a wealthy man and he says we know everything there is to know about you, we googled you, we know exactly who you are. He says you will go to the bank, we have people working there and you will drain those credit cards to their max as well as all the money you have and we will tell you where you will give it to us and in return we will let you return to Belize with your life. I said well sir, I am not doing that either, so you have to come and kill me here tonight, you will have to do it here because I am not leaving this hotel at all til its time to go to Belize and I am not going to deliver any money to no Oxxo or to no Bank. At that point, he told me that he'll do better than that, because we will kill you, because I am going to make sure that we plant a kilo of Cocaine whether in your room or in your car and you will serve the rest of your years, which he already knew my age, in a Mexican prison and the female or females that are with you will likewise serve the rest of their lives in a female prison, being violated daily. At that point I said sir, this conversation has ended and I hung up. At that point I made a call to Belize to my family to advise them what was happening and my second call was to a friend that I have in Belize in the military, who then made the connection to the Chetumal Navy. The Navy would have been there within 30 minutes. They were. Now, out of protection I got surprised, I didn't expect that amount of protection. But they told me this is not the first time that this had occurred and not the first time at Fiesta Inn, that it had happened before and that the employees are in cahoots - the top navy man. You must realize that in all the time this is happening I am still in fear because I am not sure if the people I am dealing with are involved in all of this any at all."
After the victim and his companions were whisked away presumably by the Mexican Navy, they were still very reluctant about their safety. According to the victim, he was afraid for his life and the life of his companions during the ride to Belizean territory.
Voice of the Victim
“These guys were like the navy seals, these guys were top of the line when they surrounded me, took me downstairs where I had already packed and they sent for my vehicle and they put two military inside of the vehicle and so I thought this is the right time to plan something if they wanted, you don’t know if I am being arrested or adopted, I don’t know at this time I am lost and a total of three vehicles took me, one was in front of me then my vehicle and then the other vehicle then while going to Belize on the straight I felt seamless because I don’t if they were taking me straight to Cancun and then the last minute they took a right then for sure I was taken to the Belizean customs where the police was awaiting for me and then I made some calls to my family.”
The victim believes that if he would have gone to the OXXO to deposit the money as he was initially requested do he would have been kidnapped. Authorities in Chetumal believe that some members of the Hotel staff are involved in the incident which has happened before at the hotel. The victim advices Belizean who travel over the border to never stay at the same hotel, never give out their personal number and not to travel in the same vehicle. Today we tried contacting the Jorge Valencia of the Belize Honorary Consul in Quintana Roo for comment but he was not available.
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