Baptiste Lormand: The sale of high-end liquors, the last trace of the French businessman murdered in Mexico

Baptiste Lormand: The sale of high-end liquors, the last trace of the French businessman murdered in Mexico
Baptiste Lormand: The sale of high-end liquors, the last trace of the French businessman murdered in Mexico
An offering in Polanco to the French restaurateur, Baptiste Lormand, murdered in Mexico.EDGARD GARRIDO / Reuters

The day he was killed, he had organized a meal at his home. Some of his friends met him at his home in the exclusive area of ​​Polanco, the financial and business headquarters of the capital, a few hours later, they did not see him again. The body of Baptiste Lormand, 45, a well-known restaurant owner from Mexico City, was found this Saturday with signs of torture, his hands tied and his body dumped in a ditch on an unpaved road on the outskirts of the capital. Its manager, whose identity the Prosecutor prefers to reserve, suffered the same tragic fate. The two corpses abandoned in an inhospitable corner of the city have stirred the indignation of their neighbors, who are wondering these days if there is a place in Mexico safe from the terror of violence.

Since that meal ended on Thursday, no one has seen him alive again. His wife denounced his disappearance on Friday, because in Mexico 24 hours without knowing the whereabouts of a relative or friend leads anyone to think the worst. If the escalation of violence in Mexico, more than 100 murders a day and its extension to the capital (around 5) could have an exception, this was Polanco. The terror of organized crime had usually been associated with the periphery, the poorest neighborhoods. Until a crime like that of Lormand and his manager once again puts its finger on one of the pending matters of the Government of the capital.

On Friday night, a group of friends desperately tried to track down Lormand, to find contacts that would help speed up the work of authorities overflowing with hundreds of investigative folders to solve, which support the figure of almost 90% of crimes without judgment. One of his acquaintances anonymously tells this newspaper how that night, shortly before the police found the bodies, among the restaurant circles of the capital, the terror of his friend’s disappearance was spreading with rage. “They were trying to locate the locations of their cell phone, nothing mattered, they were very worried. They began to talk about the sale of liquors that he was going to sell that night and if it could have been because of that, “he says.

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This Sunday, the chief of the police in Mexico City, Omar García Harfuch, explained in a press conference the chronology of the businessman’s last hours in the capital. Although the public part of the case still has some loose ends. The authorities have not yet explained why the identity of Lormand’s partner is kept confidential, when the restaurateurs have also publicly denounced his murder, they point out that his name is Luis Orozco and he had worked for a long time with the French businessman.

On Thursday Lormand left his house at 6:20 p.m. The video surveillance cameras captured the exact moment when his black Mitsubishi truck left his home in Polanco and headed towards one of the capital’s main avenues, towards Tlalpan, to the south. The businessman’s goal was, according to the investigation, to sell a batch of “high-end” liquors that night. Some of his friends are more specific: “He had just sold a batch of wines from a restaurant that closed and it was for stealing half a million pesos [unos 25.000 dólares] that they killed him. This country no longer has a law or authority, it has nothing ”, anonymously denounces one of his acquaintances to this newspaper.

At 6:46 p.m., the same truck was captured by the cameras when it was driving in Periférico and Privada Horacio, in the Del Bosque neighborhood, still in the Miguel Hidalgo mayor’s office, near his home. And almost an hour later, at 7:38 p.m., the vehicle was registered again in the San Pedro Mártir neighborhood, in the mayor’s office of Tlalpan, almost 27 kilometers to the south. There they detect that his manager is with him, in a rented car, a white Chevrolet Aveo.

The authorities have not explained so far what happened from that time and two in the morning on Saturday that they found the bodies dumped on the road. The hours of anguish in which his wife and friends desperately searched for Lormand’s trace, while they filed a complaint for disappearance and made the file with his photo viral on social networks.

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The main line of investigation is those liquors that Lormand was going to sell that night. Well, according to what García Harfuch has added, they have registered previous complaints from other businessmen that leads them to conclude that there is a crime business dedicated to stealing these merchandise. “We have identified a modus operandi consisting of the simulation of the sale of goods offered to the public. At the time that the face-to-face appointment is made to carry out the transaction, the sellers of the same are subjected to attacks, in some cases they have been deprived of their lives, by members of criminal groups, of arrests that we have reported in days past or in months past, ”added the police chief.

“The problem is that the authorities almost always want to see a murder as an isolated event,” says a restaurant owner in the capital who prefers not to give his name for security reasons. “In any case, what the homicide of Lormand and Luis Orozco shows is the great problem of violence we are experiencing,” he adds.

One of the fears circulating these days among businessmen in the hospitality sector is that the murder has something to do with organized crime. “We are experiencing more assaults now than five years ago, assaults on businesses at night or on diners when we are open. Extortion has increased and we also know of cases of locals in party areas where organized crime has suddenly entered for the sale of drugs, “adds the businessman.

Although the authorities have ruled out extortion as the motive for the murder of Lormand and his partner, the practice popularly known as payment for floor right It is the order of the day among hundreds of businesses that are debating between opening their doors in the middle of a pandemic or declaring bankruptcy in the face of the crisis, according to up to four businessmen to this newspaper. In addition to the tragic economic situation of the hospitality industry worldwide, in Mexico is the stab of violence and impunity.

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