In the last year, more than 300 businesses in Quintana Roo were forced to close their doors due to extortion. Criminals have been the cause of numerous businesses shutting down due to the collection of “floor rights”.
Juan Jaime Mingüer Cerón, president of the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco), explained that in a recent meeting of local business organizations from the north and south of the state, 148 medium sized companies relocated from Quintana Roo to settle in other states to escape the problem.
Meanwhile, 170 micro and small businesses, such as taquerías, grocery stores and clothing stores, permanently shut since they were without the means to relocate.
For the Canaco leader, business owners said they would rather relocate or abandon their businesses than wait for a solution. Canaco highlighted that during the last year, only 13 people were arrested for the extortion of Quintana Roo businesses, seven of which, were citizen arrests by entrepeneures who were tired of being threatened to pay.
According to Canaco, its members have indicated that for a small shop selling miscellaneous items and clothing, businesses are forced to pay between 1,500 pesos to 2,000 pesos per month if they are in a subdivision, and from 3,000 to 5,000 if they are located in a commercial area.
The restaurants bars and businesses related to tourism pay between 6,000 to 15,000 pesos a month.
Until 2014, the problem of business extortion was only known to occur in Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen. However, information from the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) reveals that criminal cells have expanded their area of influence to include Tulum, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, Holbox, Mahahual and Bacalar.
The FGE reported 271 businesses extortion complaints filed between May 2020 and June 2021.