Murder rates soar in spring-break favorites on Mexico’s coasts. Riviera entrepreneur says he’s had enough; turns vigilante.
Carlos Mimenza won’t say whether the 200-man team he’s assembled carry guns. “I’ll have to leave it to your imagination. My lawyers don’t let me talk about it.”
But they fly drones. They wear masks. Some are skilled hackers, hired from the Anonymous collective. They operate out of a luxury cabin in the woods, its entrance screened by a waterfall. And they claim to have the local governor, along with senior officials and cops, under surveillance 24 hours a day. Because Mimenza, a real-estate developer, says Mexico’s authorities are responsible for the spread of violence and extortion, colluding with the country’s drug cartels instead of protecting entrepreneurs like him.
He’s hardly the first Mexican to say “no mas.” Vigilante justice has been a feature of the drug-war decade, when Mexico turned into one of the world’s more dangerous places. What’s troubling is where Mimenza’s private army is waging its campaign: Not among the meth labs of Michoacan, or the border badlands of Ciudad Juarez, but in the Riviera resort of Playa del Carmen — just down the coast from Cancun, and right in the heart of a tourism industry that brings in $20 billion a year.