Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Crime Wave, an Interrupted Meal Haunts Mexico

Felix Batista, a security consultant from Miami, was abducted on Dec. 10 outside this restaurant in Saltillo, Mexico.

Until recently, before a customer was abducted outside its front door, El Mesón Principal del Norte was known simply as a great place to get meat, usually roasted on a spit in northern Mexican style. But ask a hotel concierge in this industrial city about El Mesón these days and the gastronomy may not come up first. “Be careful,” one whispered conspiratorially last month. “That’s where they got the gringo.” It was outside El Mesón that Felix Batista, an American security consultant who specialized in resolving kidnappings, was himself abducted on the evening of Dec. 10. He has not been heard from since.

The irony of it.

There is the Vips diner in southern Mexico City, where authorities detained Sandra Ávila Beltrán, suspected of being a third-generation drug trafficker known as the Queen of the Pacific, as she sipped coffee with friends.

3rd generation? Family business redefined.

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