A brief summary of a friends conversation with a street vendor that approached him in Playa del Carmen, MX
On Friday I took the ferry from Cozumel to PDC. I have been going to Playa del Carmen each year for at least 10 years. This time I noticed something different:this time I was asked if I wanted drugs or prostitutes non-stop from the time I got off the ferry until I went back and boarded.
I was approached by one guy in particular, who owns a store close to the ferry landing. After a brief exchange in Spanish, I learn he happens to be from Georgia. He asked me to come see about his store, which is like every other peddler there, then he asked me if I wanted a “girlfriend” or if I wanted drugs….of course I said no, but that had been a frequent request since I hopped off the ferry.
A short while later I was in a local coffee shop handling some work emails and he walked in, I asked him he would join me, and surprisingly he did. So I told him I had some questions that I thought he would uniquely be able to answer, and he was very open and answered most of what I asked. I told him I am asking strictly to be able to better understand how to stay safe with my family while in PDC…
1) He told me I was asked about both drugs and girls because I was alone. Had I been with my family I would have still been hounded, but only for the wares he sells, and every street vendor sells. Not if I wanted drugs or girls. But he DID say there were more drugs in PDC over the last many months as a result of AMLO “stopping the drug war”….they are more open about it. He said most families are fairly safe, just don’t go looking for trouble and it is easy to avoid.
2) He told me that on his block there are 3 or 4 guys also selling for his supplier,not everyone does this, but a few do. In PDC on this particular street 1 major supplier is represented, but the reason for much of the unrest lately is there is another group trying to work their way in. He didn’t name names, but he said his supplier was from “the north and east part of Mexico.” He said the new ones trying to come in were !@#$. And they are a “different breed” altogether. His words, not mine. He also said the quality if !@#$ drugs was inferior, and we would likely hear about more deaths from OD in the coming years if they don’t change quality. He said buy from him; quality is higher….I think he was still testing me to see if I wanted drugs.
3) I asked him about the girls and he told me there are 2-3 brothels in PDC, one really nice one, and a couple of “bargain basement” locations. I asked him more details, and he told me he only gets a commission on the girls. Typically 15% of the patrons spend. So if you ask for a girl, he will walk you to the front door, the brothel will then hand him a ticket with a number, and he goes back later in the day to hand them back the ticket (or tickets), and they pay him based on that patron..the number on the ticket is the identifier of the patron. You can Google brothels in PDC and it will pull the top one right out. You can even select a girl from the photos provided, and reserve her right there.
4) He also told me the sex trade, while brothels are legal, has a darker side, and it seems to be mostly a handful of local wealthy Mexican men who can and sometimes DO make off-menu requests….perhaps they want a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl? In that case, a call goes out to taxi drivers, store owners and bar owners. They “spot” for the lady that meets the desired request. He said Europeans girls are easiest, but he didn’t say why. For example, maybe a taxi driver drops a handful of travelers at a bar, and one of them fits the profile of the request, the taxi driver will alert someone of who she is, and where he dropped her off. From there, depending on time of day, perhaps a drink is laced, or some other means, they will see if they can get the young lady away long enough to fill the request. He said this is very rare…..that this draws undue attention, and he has never done this, but he has said it happens from time to time.
5) He said no one in PDC has as good of an eye on the dark markets other than taxi drivers. He said very few were not getting extra money in commissions by taking their riders their brothels, or to their drug sellers. Taxi drivers are the intermediary in every area of the trades. He said the brothels and drug supplier have to compete for the taxis.
6) I asked him how to keep my family safe just walking around. He said an”older” American on holiday with wife and kids is far from anything they really want. BUT he said just get back to the resort or hotel before the sun goes down…all the really nefarious stuff occurs after dark. Drug deals are 24/7 as are the requests for brothels, but the really dark side of PDC (and Cancun for that matter) seems to come out at night. And he said stay on the east side of Highway 307; the more touristy, the better. West of 307, closer to the jungle, is pretty bad.
7) He said someone is always watching. They watch for how we carry ourselves. How we carry our money (front pocket, back pocket, wallet, money clip, etc). Europeans mostly carry a murse, so they are far more likely to get pickpocketed.
Closing: IF you have kids going to spring break in MX tell them to be aware, if you fall into these profiles be aware. You will be sized up in MX!!
JUNE – JULY
This course is for Executive and Security Professionals living or working in MX CITY. The course will cover basic and advanced tactics that you can use in order to drive evasively or defensively in case of a nefarious situation. AWARENESS IS KEY. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Sometimes a vehicle is all you have. Learn to use it.
So..there i was…..11 hours and 59 minutes left of my watch. Awesome!
Well at about 8 hours in, my eyes started getting really heavy. Standing, sitting, didn’t matter. Coffee, squats, copenhagen were only short term fixes and were sometimes not allowed or feasible. Should have prepared better? Could I? More sleep prior?
Here are a couple of pointers to help you stay awake.
- If you’re on nights, get your allotted time of sleep prior no matter what. Darken your room, maintain quiet around you. That’s for starters.
- Eat right
- Stay ahead of sandman on watch and move around if you can. Rove, Patrol, walk around.
- Once you get tired, do not sit, unless the post orders mandate it, have a rotation if possible.
- Alert your buddy and check on each other every now and then.
- Do math in your head. Play memorization games, keep your mind busy.
- Set a schedule for yourself on watch and stick to it.
- Vehicle watches where you are confined to a car…have a buddy system. Walk around vic, stand outside vic, have a regular rotation.
No, this is not for marksman laying on the ground watching a target.
One thing is for sure, these moments can be quite daunting if you don’t have a professional relationship already in place, as you and your client navigate each others space and qualities you’ll both come to understand how each other operates and thinks, some of you may not even have access to your own clients but go thru a secretary or EA, and that’s ok, treat em like your client.
So…how do we develop a professional relationship from the get go? First and foremost:
- Never Lie to your client.
- Never promise something you cannot deliver.
- Never tell them what you think they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear.
Ok so now it’s time to talk.
- Be yourself! If you have a good sense of humor use it, let em know your not a robot or killing machine for some.
- Be clear and concise with everything that comes out of your mouth.
- Be respectful of their time, in and out. Deliver the facts and keep your personal life to yourself unless they ask.
- Don’t be afraid to stand your ground…respectfully. You’re the SME in security, not them. Give them the 5ws of your counter, make them understand how our world works, remember that they make decisions based off what they know. Get them on your side by presenting the facts. Some are easy, some are not.
- Hold yourself accountable for everything. Never pass the buck.
That’s just for starters!
As we kicked off 2019 we really needed to show what makes us different as an organization. Always striving to do better and be better!
0800 Course Intro, Rules, SOPs, Safety, Medical, Range Flanks
0830 Vehicle Familiarization , Slalom Forward and Reverse
0930 ABS Theory, Acceleration, Steering Theory
1030 Front to Back / Side to Side Contact
1230 Lunch on Site
1330 J turns
1430 PIT theory and Practical-Do’s and Don’ts
1530 Chase the Rabbit
This is a 1 DAY sample of the Driving Course.
Moving your business this year? Have an influx of new hires? Working out of the country with different players and different cultures?
Let EESS help you make all of the right decisions, this requires having all of the right information. Knowledge is power in the game of business. We can help with a core of vital capabilities.
To include but not limited to:
- Risk and Threat Assessments-Globally
- Background Investigations-Personnel and Industry
- Red Analysis-Globally
- Cyber Hygiene Programs-Ethical Penetration Programs
- Special Services
- Corporate Training Programs- OPSEC, Situational Awareness, Foreign Country Culture Awareness/FCCA
Please call 1.800.372.8142 or email email@example.com for your consultation.