This is my most dangerous Mexican experience.
|City of Chihuahua - 2 1/2 hours|
south of Juarez
When I lived in the city of Chihuahua, I lived close to Los Americos, which is a major thoroughfare. At the intersection I walked to most days, there was a McDonalds Restaurant on one corner and across the street a Pemex gas station. There was always a police car parked in the Pemex lot.
Across the street from the restaurant and gas station there was a drug store. I went to the drug store almost every day to purchase bottled water, and frequently a small package of delicious chocolate covered cherry an alcohol mixture I've not found anywhere else.
I was on my way to the drug store when I noticed a man lying face down parallel to a vehicle. My first thought was that a traffic accident had just occurred. But the vehicle he was lying along side wasn't damaged, and it didn't look like any other vehicle was involved in the mishap.
My next thought was that he had a stroke or something, and that had caused his accident. But, the way he was laying, neatly parallels to the vehicle, didn't make sense if he had gotten out and had fallen on his way to get help.
My third thought, he had been shot. I didn't have my cell phone with me, and so I couldn't call emergency. Would anyone call emergency? I sat and watched. Two men with a cell phone got out of their vehicle and made a phone call.
I noticed, with interest, that the police car usually parked in the Pemex gas station wasn't there. The street was suddenly empty. Businesses in the area locked their doors. The police arrived, cordoned off the area and asked me to leave.
For a while, whenever I needed a taxi I called a particular driver, I'll call him Philip. When I told Philip about what had happened, he hadn't heard anything. But, the next time we met he told me what he had been able to glean from his asking around.
He said that the man was an illegal after hours seller of alcohol. There's a big alcohol problem in Mexico, and one of the solutions to the problem is to prohibit the sale of alcohol past a certain hour. The dead man, who at first was only selling alcohol, was approached by one of the drug cartels.
He was told that he needed to add drugs to his product line. He had no choice. Once he was doing business with one cartel, another cartel told him that he had to buy from them. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! The man was a dead guy before he was actually shot.
There weren't any police in the Pemex station because they were informed that the hit was going down.
"How did the drug cartel assassin know he was going to be at that intersection at that time?" I asked.
"That's a good question, " Philip said, " don't know."
I came up with a theory. Perhaps one of the cartels, the one that killed him, suggested a meeting at McDonalds.
Philip thinks that the state of Chihuahua was better off before Calderon declared his war on drugs. That's a story for another day.