Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

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Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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One-on-one with a Mexican cartel boss

Avery Haines

W5 investigative correspondent
 
Published March 29, 2019 9:00 a.m. ET

 Are Canadian tourists in the Mayan Riviera at risk of getting caught in cartel cross fire? Investigative reporter Avery Haines gets rare access to a Mexican drug boss, for a far-reaching and disturbing interview that airs as part of her W5 documentary, "The Narco Riviera," airing Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV.

 "Manuel" agreed to meet us to talk about the cartel turf war that has led to a record number of murders in a Canadian tourist mecca. Warning: details may be disturbing.

 PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO -- I’ve never before wondered whether asking the wrong question in an interview could get me, and my crew, killed.

 It was an irrational fear, but we’d entered an alternate reality. Sitting across from me, in a narco safehouse in Playa Del Carmen: the head of the Mayan Riviera drug trade for the Sinaloa cartel, responsible for both feeding the high tourist demand, and for transporting some 300 kilograms of cocaine a month up to the U.S. border.

 We secured the rare interview as part of our investigation into the unprecedented wave of violence that has washed over the much-loved Canadian hotspots of Playa Del Carmen and Cancun.

Map showing Cancun and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico (W5)
 
LINKS:
•Mexico travel advisory from Government of Canada
•Statement to W5 from Quintana Roo Tourism Board

 Even getting to the safehouse was an ordeal. Producer Stephen Grant, cameraman Jerry Vienneau and I were told to park at a coffee shop and wait. After some time, a car pulled up beside us and the man who brokered the interview gestured to follow him.

 Led up and down streets and through neighbourhoods in Playa Del Carmen, we finally stopped at a nondescript low-rise apartment building. We were told to set up our equipment in one of the unoccupied units on the top floor and then go into the bedroom and shut the door.

 None of us knew quite what to expect. We were eventually summoned by a knock on the bedroom door. The first thing I noticed were the weapons and the masks. The group was heavily armed, and wearing balaclavas.

 We weren’t allowed to see their faces or know their real names so we call the narco boss "Manuel."

 Manuel was protected by two bodyguards who stood behind me throughout the interview. The one with an assault rifle slung across his chest had a penchant for repeatedly clicking the safety catch on his weapon, an unnerving sound in an already tense situation.

Assault rifle being held by one of 'Manuel's' bodyguards
 
 Manuel agreed to meet us to talk about the cartel turf war that has led to a record number of murders in a Canadian tourist mecca.

 Wearing a knitted balaclava covering all but his eyes, Manuel was fidgety and played with his handgun as he sat in the chair in front of me.

 This Mexican Narco spoke with ease about dismemberments, executions, the lack of care if tourists get caught in the crossfire. (W5)
 
W5 interview setup with 'Manuel' and his bodyguards.
Manuel, guarded by two armed bodyguards, speaks with W5's Avery Haines in a safehouse

 His voice is deep and powerful and his English is near-perfect. One of the first things Manuel does after we meet is reach into his wallet to pull out a tattered photo of a soldier wearing an American uniform.

 Strategically placing his thumb over the face, Manuel says it’s a picture of him, that he lived for some time in the United States and did two tours in Afghanistan. It’s where he says he learned how to kill.

 Mexico is in the grips of a cartel crisis and the Mayan Riviera has not been spared. The murder rate is now so high it can be counted by the hour.

 Quintana Roo State, with a population of one-and-a-half million people, encompasses tourist hotspots like Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. In 2018, an astounding 840 people were killed. By comparison, in Toronto, Ont., with a population almost twice as large, there were just 51 gun deaths that year.

 The number of murders in this small state has skyrocketed by 335 per cent in the past two years. Someone is killed once every 10 hours.

 One of the Canadian victims of cartel violence was a much loved Canadian bouncer, Kirk Wilson, from Hamilton, Ont. He was working security at a Canadian run music festival at the Blue Parrot Club in Playa Del Carmen in 2017.

 On the final night of the BPM festival, armed men stormed the event and opened fire with automatic weapons. Five people died and 15 others were injured. Los Zeta’s cartel claimed responsibility. There are a number of theories about what happened that night. The organizers didn’t pay protection money. Or they paid the wrong cartel.

 Manuel has his own take on the tragedy.

 My conversation with a Mexican narco was far-reaching and disturbing. He spoke with ease about dismemberments, executions, the lack of care if tourists get caught in the crossfire. He told me I wouldn’t understand the life he leads because I wasn’t born into it, that I grew up in a different country, a different world.

 When the interview ended, Manuel and his two bodyguards hung around the safehouse while we tore down our equipment. Even though they were armed and wearing balaclavas, the conversation was surprisingly normal. The man with the assault rifle asked me to go online to show him the latest electronic cigarettes on the market.

 Manuel borrowed a vape pen, blowing big plumes of smoke through the mask covering his face. He talked about his Canadian friends who have no idea just how ‘connected’ he really is.

 At one point before we leave, I noticed Manuel and one of his bodyguards laughing and whispering in Spanish. Later, I asked our local producer in Mexico what they were joking about.

 There is no way of knowing it this is true, or if the narco trio was just trying to sell a little bit of fear, but it’s horrifying. They were talking about how, on their drive to our interview, they pulled over because there was a strange noise coming from the back of the car. When they popped the trunk they realized they hadn’t fully disposed of a body they had dismembered.

 That sound? A head, bouncing around in the trunk.
Be sure to click on the link below as there is 3 mini interviews.
https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/features/one-on-one-with-a-mexican-cartel-boss.html




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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

Mica
Interesting assignment!  I always wonder what the motivation is for a masked cartel boss to give an interview.
J
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

J
In reply to this post by canadiana
I am always deeply skeptical of these kinds of things, not saying I know everything or every detail, or it is all a facade, but there is something that feels off in all these kinds of interviews, whether "cartel bosses" in las vegas or Colombian traffickers in Medellin.  
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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I wonder that too J and also why like Mica mentioned would they do it?Is it to throw off the competition in whatever way and why is it American journalists and networks never seem involved?Why is it UK,Austrailan or Canadian companies that do this I wondered?Is it because the cartels will refuse 'American' because of mistrust of the DEA or they are more comfortable being interviewed by further away countries?Then again why would they do it when someone like me that lives 2 countries away turns around and posts it where it's seen in the area they operate.I wondered also when I posted it that someone on this blog probably knows this guy.Maybe they do the interview like 'showing off their toughness' kind of like tigers and jewellery (showing off their wealth),stupid but fun.On an excerpt to the TV show it said this guy represented Sinaloa cartel and that he says there is 4 cartels fighting for the crown jewel in this area.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

ToPHeR
My driver to the airport told me it was even more than only 4. He said it's a mess because the smaller, local gangs don't like being bossed around by the big guys so it's a free for all. Another interesting bit is he said the Russians have big influence and the cartels leave them alone. He said they are more into credit card fraud and other forms of financial theft

He said he owned a liquor store outside of Mexico City until the local cartel gave him such a high monthly extortion fee that he simply couldn't afford to pay. He said they picked him up one day and beat him very bad and then burnt his store down and told him he's a dead man. He fled to Cancun to get away
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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In reply to this post by canadiana
I'm not sure if the episode can be viewed outside of Canada or not.It's like the 60 minutes show.It says it's on Sat. at 7 (maybe EST zone).I'm pretty sure it's also on Sun. too.It might be possible to downstream episodes or sometimes once it's been aired they may allow you to watch episodes on line for a limited time only like a couple of weeks or so but I'm not absolutely sure.The name of the episode is 'The Narco Riviera' and the show is called 'W5' on CTV network.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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If 1 or 2 people can let me know if this video is able to be viewed in other countries besides Canada.Thanks.It's about 44 minutes.Here's the link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvlOcDYpkqY
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

BBfollower
Hey canadiana. Ya, i can see it in Romania...
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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Oh cool!You are on the other side of the world!.I'm under the impression (correct me if I'm wrong) that utube videos are international as opposed to if I just posted the TV network's own videos that maybe there is a copyright just for that country possibly.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

BBfollower
You're correct. Sometimes I had problems watching videos on some TV networks sites but never on youtube...
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

Catdog
In reply to this post by Mica
Is it Saturday April 6th this will show in Canada? I’ve got a freind in Ontario I want to pass this on to.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

Catdog
Looks like I’m a day late
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

BBfollower
Canadiana posted already a youtube link where you/your friend could see it.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
Administrator
I was a little surprised (but maybe not so surprising) that in the interview the cartel boss complains about the feds (I think he said the Federalis) weren't interested into arresting them but in what spoils they had to steal.I could see that from the 'Municipals' but I thought the feds with more prestige and pay had a bit more class than that.Guess not.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

Cuidado
The Federales are just as corrupt.  The only ones you can somewhat trust are la marina.
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

Mosco
In reply to this post by canadiana
Canadiana:  I just tried (April 4th) and the video is blocked in my Southwest USA State.   Big Bro don't want me to be informed.  I hate it when things are censored by "who know why or who".
Mosco
H39
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

H39
This post was updated on .
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Re: Investigative Journalism:Interview with a Cartel Boss in the Mayan Riviera for a W5 TV program this weekend

canadiana
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In reply to this post by Mosco
Not the 1st link in the initial story.That was like a trailer and it's directly from the TV network,may not work in a lot of countries but the youtube 1 further down I posted March 30 above Mosco. If not maybe try the link just above this post from H39.