MEXICO CITY -- Shakedown rackets have long targeted businesses in the most violent corners of Mexico. Now the practice is spreading. One anti-crime group estimates that kidnapping across the country has jumped by one-third this year compared to 2012. And as the extortion industry expands, it has drawn both experienced criminals and imitators.
Experts say that's a byproduct of Mexico's crackdown on drug gangs. As authorities nab cartel bosses and break up chains of command, lower-level gunmen and traffickers are desperate for income and looking for income in new places.