Mythbusters: Are there 14,000 expatriates living in Rosarito?

“About 14,000 expatriates call Rosarito home.” –

One cannot look at any brochure or webpage touting the benefits of living in Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico without seeing the statement that 14,000 expatriates call it home. Sometimes as many as 20,000 expatriates are mentioned. This figure has been repeated so often, that it is just taken for granted.

But is that the real number of expatriates living in Rosarito. No way! Not even close.

Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is the National Immigration Institute, is the federal body in Mexico which grants immigrant and non-immigrant visas to foreigners and keeps track of them. The INM keeps very good records, and they are public, much like the US Census data is public.

At the end of 2009, INM reported that there were only 1,624 registered foreigners living in Playas de Rosarito with some kind of an immigration visa. That’s it. 1,624.

Far from expanding, the expatriate community in Baja California is shrinking rapidly. At the end on 2009, INM reported there were only 13,948 foreigners registered with the INM in the entire state of Baja California. By August, 2011, the number of foreigners registered had shrunk to only 3,277 soles… a 76% reduction in two years.



Crimes against North Americans in Mexico

The news flowing northward out of Mexico of late paints a worrisome portrait. More and more North Americans are being attacked, robbed and murdered. Here are some news items from just the past five months. Many of these items were never reported in US newspapers. The list is not all-inclusive. There are many more incidents than reported here.

September 2, 2011 – American Susan Bushong, 52-years of age, stopped her car in Rosarito to look at a curio store. When she came out she saw a man inside her car removing items. The man saw her and ran to a waiting car and fled.

September 10, 2011 – Long time Baja resident Ronald Hoff, 56-years old, and his wife were attacked by three robbers near their home in San Quintin. Hoff was brutally beaten and left unconscious. When his wife, Cristina, came to his rescue the men attacked her, knocking her unconscious and cutting her throat before dumping her elsewhere. Both survivied the attack and are slowly recovering but will need further surgery and may never fully recover.

October 3, 2011 – The body of Margaret Katherine Reeves, 42-years old, and originally from Los Angeles, was discovered in a public cemetery in Ensenada. She was killed by a blow to her head. Police believe she was murdered elsewhere and her body was dumped in the cemetery.

October 4, 2011 – American Howie Lange has lived in San Juanico, Baja California Sur for 15 years. Four masked and armed men broke into his home, kicked him in the stomach and demanded all the money in the home, which was $5,000. They then tossed him into a SUV and drove him miles into the country, put a gun to his head and choked him with a rope. They left him there, a 2-1/2 hour walk back to town.

October 19, 2011 – American Robert Paul Frey, 66-years old, was bashed over the head in his own home in Ensenada by a young Mexican couple who rented another home from him. They tied him hand and foot with adhesive tape, taped his mouth, and then strangled him with a rope.

October 26, 2011 – The body of an American man, Gary Louis Barlow, 65-years old, in an advanced state of decay was found inside his home Wednesday night. The home was on parcel 21, in the area of Cañón San Carlos in Ensenada. The body was found in one of the rooms and was tied up hand and foot. The body was found by a cleaning person who came to the home and noticed a strong odor. People familiar with the deceased said they only knew him as “Gary,” and he was a peaceful and serious person who did not speak much as he knew little Spanish, but was not a problematic person.

November 21, 2011 – An American woman was assaulted this weekend in broad daylight by unknowns near Bajamar, Ensenada, Baja California, as she was entering the Scenic Highway. According to official information, the victim is a woman 65-years of age, who was driving a Ford Winstar, and upon arriving at the entrance to Bajamar, a white car with two subjects aboard cut her off. One subject got out of the car and threatened the woman with a firearm and took her purse. Inside the purse were documents and cash. In total, the assailants took around $1,000 dollars in cash, credit cards and documents belonging to the victim.

November 22, 2011 – An American tourist was eating at the “Sólo Veracruz es Bello” restaurant in the historic area of Puebla when a man approached him and said something in Spanish. As he spoke no Spanish, the man began to gesture to him and then put a knife in his waste and took his wallet after a struggle.Police arrested Erik Vergara García, 31 years old, who had been in prison before for drug related crimes.

November 24, 2011 – A 73-year old American woman was robbed of $25,000 in jewelry in Rosarito, Baja California. Elena Moore returned to her condo at the Pemex condominiums in Rosarito after being gone for a day, only to find her condo was broken into and $25,000 worth of jewelry was missing. Police who answered the crime report noted that the front window of the condo was broken and everything inside was in disarray.

November 24, 2011 – A U.S. citizen was discovered stabbed to death in Puerto Vallarta in what is thought to be an act of violent robbery, although authorities have given no suspected motive for the crime. David W. Reitz III, believed to be aged 62 to 65, was found gagged and bound. He died of multiple knife wounds. His body was discovered on Wednesday in the shower of his apartment on Calle Allende in the center of Vallarta, with his hands and feet tied with white ribbon. Reitz had been renting the apartment for just 15 days. Police determined that he had not left the apartment since Monday, when neighbors saw him enter with two unknown persons. No one has been arrested in connection with the crime.

November 29, 2011 – A Brooklyn lawyer and his psychotherapist wife were unloading groceries from their car along one of Ajijic’s cobblestone streets (near Guadalajara) when a man came up and tried to take the wallet from the lawyer’s back pocket. When 69-year-old Stephen Christopher Kahr swung around to confront the aggressor, he received a single shot to the chest, dying almost immediately.

December 7, 2011 – Nicole Scherzinger recently was held up at gunpoint by a gang in Mexico. The US “X Factor” judge and the show’s choreographer, Brian Friedman, were driving in the country during a trip to shoot her video “Try with Me” when they were pulled over by gunmen, Friedman told Star magazine. “We were held at gunpoint,” he said. “People next to our cars … there were M16s and Berettas.” The 33-year-old former Pussycat Doll and the choreographer eventually were released unharmed by the local gang.

December 24, 2011 – A Rolling Meadows High School (Chicago) senior was murdered in Mexico while visiting family. Although few details were available, local news reports say Alexis Marron, 18, and two other men were found dead in the trunk of a burned car in the Mexican state of Michoachan. A representative of the ministerial police of the city of Zamora, Michoacan, confirmed that a relative of Marron’s said the youth is from the Chicago area. Marron was staying with relatives in the small town of Quiringüicharo, police said.

December 25, 2011 – Canadian Tom Berthelotte, 50-years old, returned to this home in El Centenario (near La Paz, Baja California Sur) to see robbers had taken 10,000 pesos, $500 US dollars, a laptop computer, a DVD burner and cellphone. The home is located on calle 21 and Palo de Arco. The door was forced open.

December 25, 2011 – Bainbridge Island resident Patrick Warga died after being brutally beaten during an attack in Tampico, Mexico. The 46-year-old tugboat captain was flown to a hospital in San Diego after he was discovered missing by a shipmate on Christmas morning. According to his family, Warga was in Tampico, Mexico, for his job as a captain with the Seattle-based Foss Maritime. On Christmas morning, Warga went out for a cup of tea. That’s when he was robbed and attacked. According to news reports, a 20-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the attack. Warga was a longtime resident of Bainbridge Island. He leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and their three children.

January 3, 2012 – A retired mechanic from Victoria, British Columbia was shot and killed early Tuesday morning in a town south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Robin Wood, 67, was returning from a concert when he was shot by robbers who had entered the home he was staying at in Melaque.

January 3, 2012 – Robbery is the strongest line of investigation for the murder that occurred Tuesday morning in Rancho El Peligro near Mexicali, Baja California. Kenneth Lyle Jones, 65-years old and originally from Yuma, Arizona was found lying outside his mobile home murdered with a galvanized metal pipe that was left at the scene of the crime.

January 7, 2012 – San Quintín, Baja California. – American Wallace James Medeiros, 90-years old and originally from Hawaii, was found dead. His body was found tied up, the hands and feet bound with a strip of white electrical cable. The body had a wound to the abdomen which measured 10 centimeters. This opening caused the viscera to fall out.

January 7, 2012 – Mitchell Ventura, 56, a naturalized Mexican citizen born in England, was shot to death by a car thief in the parking lot of Sam’s Club in the city of Colima on the evening of January 7. Ventura had tried to assist the family of Heliodoro Amezcua Rodríguez, who had been approached by a still unidentified thief demanding the keys of their Ford Explorer at gunpoint. According to a police report, Ventura was shot in the chest with a single bullet as he rushed the car and attempted to dislodge the thief. He expired not long after in a local hospital. He was a firefighter who served in the United States and Iraq, before becoming an instructor in Mexico, Ventura was married to a Mexican citizen and had three children.

January 13, 2012 – Cabo San Lucas – Mary Ullery, a tourist from Indiana, was robbed at knife point in the downtown tourist area by Julio Alberto Ramírez Astorga, a 32-year old from Sinaloa, who suposedly works in the tourist service industry.