By Dan Sommer
Offers of up to $7000 per month plus accommodation, in a society with a rich cultural heritage, excellent nightlife, and a high threat level from kidnap and assassination attempts. These are factors that explain why CPO’s are now increasingly seeking their fortune in Mexico.
The close protection industry in Mexico is expected to grow significantly during the next few years, this is due not just to the increased threat from kidnappings, which are among the highest in the world with an estimated 3000+ kidnappings a year. But today; Mexico’s elite is also at threat from the much more rapidly growing number of assassinations.
Accordingly, there were an estimated 1300 assassinations carried out in Mexico in 2004, an estimated 1800 assassinations in 2005 and so far the first nine months of 2006 have already passed the 1700 mark!
Who and Why. The usual victims have been found among drug dealers and police officers involved one way or another in the drug trade, but today businessmen who have been unwilling to “assist” the drug cartels are increasingly finding themselves targeted as well.
Drug Cartels are now increasingly seeking the cooperation of major Mexican corporations in the import, storing, packing, and transport of drugs to the US markets; simply because many of the corporations already have extensive and efficient transport and export systems in place.
However it is not just the prominent businessmen who really need private protection; as among the assassination victims are 16 state and federal police commanders, two judges handling drug cases, and two federal prosecutors, all have been assassinated in 2006. Combine that with the eight local police chiefs who were assassinated in the State of Michigan, and one starts to realize the need for professional and hard to intimidate private CPO’s.
The Mexican CPO’s. In Mexico there are currently very few professionally trained CPO’s, as the vast majority of Mexican CPO’s have traditionally been recruited from ex-military and ex-police locals, without any requests for prior CPO training or experience.
However as organized crime growth is constantly rising; Mexico’s rich, famous and powerful have found that their local CPO’s are neither skillful enough, nor fierce enough to resist the threats from the increasingly brutal Drug Cartel’s. I don’t blame them… as the drug cartels have no qualms about raping, torturing, and murdering the family of any CPO who would dare resist them.
This year’s news has portrayed stories of kidnaps and assassinations, that have often been executed with either direct or indirect assistance from within the victim’s own CPO teams. The threat is highest along the traditional drug routes through Mexico; with the worst States being Quintana Roo, Michigan, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, and Baja California Norte.
Among the more dangerous Cities is Mexico City, Tijuana, and Nuevo Laredo, but this year even the tourist city Acapulco has been affected.
One of the major players in the drug war is the “Gulf Cartel” or Cartel del Golfo , who has their own “elite assassination cadre” known as the “Zetas”, a cadre consisting of former military Special Forces members gone rogue.
As the threat level in Mexico is increasing and Mexican CPO’s are too exposed to threats from organized crime groups; aimed not just at the CPO’s themselves but also towards their families and friends. The wealthy businessmen are finding that to ensure their own security, they can no longer rely merely on numbers, but are increasingly going to be dependent on the protection from well trained and professional CPO’s, who is not easy to intimidate or have an exposed family living in Mexico.
The WFB Mexico. The Director of WFB Mexico, have through several meetings and consultations with influential businessmen, found that they are changing their views and are now increasingly looking for Western CPO’s to act as their TL or 2IC’s on their protective teams. Thus monthly salaries are being offered ranging from US $4000 to $7000 plus accommodation, which is definitely good payments compared to most of the world, albeit not quite at the Iraq level. But then the threat from roadside bombs and suicide attacks are not present either!
The WFB Mexico have often been requested by prominent businessmen to hold CPO courses in State’s such as Puebla, Michigan and San Luis Potosi. This is in order to train wealthy businessmen CP Team Leaders, as well as selected Police Officers. Such training includes Firearms training with Pistols and AR-15’s; as well as PSD, SOP’s and Counter Assault Team tactical training to counter assassination and kidnapping attempts.
Although these courses are usually pre-ordered by prominent businessmen, there are usually also a few open spaces for private CPO’s who would like to complete their CPO training in Mexico and later go on to work in either in Mexico or one of the Central or South American countries.
Because of the low price on food and accommodation in Mexico, such courses can be offered at a very favorable price. Thus the course price for a 14-day high-risk close protection course is only US $3400, and includes all expenses for accommodation, meals, weapons and ammunition etc.
Even if this is a low price by western standards, it is still four times more that what a wealthy businessman would usually be willing to pay for training of his bodyguard. Thus the fes businessmen who are willing to spend on their bodyguard’s training will clearly be at an advantage and be more likely to escape an assassination or kidnapping attempt.
The open connections in Mexico between prominent businessmen and the local police departments enable such courses to be held in full association with the police academies. WFB Mexico can therefore proudly claim to be one of the few private training organizations with direct access to official Police Academies.
This is of great importance to private students who will be training alongside members of the Police CP teams and Team Leaders from corporate CPO teams; this affects a greater learning process for all parties. During courses in Mexico the WFB arranges a course ceremony, held at the local Police Academy and attended by Politicians, High Ranking Police Officers and several VIP’s from Mexico’s corporate sector. This offers CP students an excellent opportunity to mingle and create contact, hand out business cards and seek employment contracts directly.
Among the high ranking businessmen attending the CP course ceremony are members of some of Mexico’s wealthiest families, many of them employ large RST and CPO teams, similar in size to those teams we have all heard about from the London circuit of Saudi, Omani and Gulf States dignitaries. One Mexican family, whose team I was part of teaching in 2002, had a RST and CPO team consisting of 60 security and close protection officers, that ‘s larger than most European Presidential teams!
Want To Know More? With a variety of CP, Tactical and Firearms courses available, the WFB Mexico offers a great opportunity to train in a “Central American” country, where the threat from organized crime and kidnapping are increasing every year.
Those readers interested in further information about working in Mexico, should contact the author for career coaching advice or contact the WFB Mexico through the website WFB-Bodyguards.com and read my previous Buzzle.com article “Bodyguard Training in Mexico”.