About two weeks after Krista Blas received phone calls from Mexico threatening her husband’s life, she finally heard from him this week.
“He called this past Monday night and said a co-worker from the job he had in the U.S. told him I was worried about him and about the threatening phone calls,” Blas, who lives in Cleveland, Tenn., wrote in an email.
Her husband, an illegal immigrant who signed a voluntary departure order earlier this year, told her he was doing fine after being dropped off somewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border on June 2.
The threats were most likely a scam, he told her.
“He thinks those guys got my number from the pay phone he used in Mexico because his friend’s family had gotten similar calls,” she wrote.
Bernardo Blas Alonso is a Mexico native who lived in the United States for 12 years, eight of those in Cleveland. He last called Blas on June 4, saying he was in the city of Matamoros in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
That same day and last Sunday, she received calls from people saying they had her husband and that she had to send them money if she wanted to see him alive again.
Immigrant kidnappings for ransom are rampant in Mexico, but so are scams.
Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Stacie Bohanan, in Knoxville, said all cases and circumstances are different, but “there have been instances in the past where the same type of situation, after being investigated further, have been unfounded.”
Blas, a U.S. citizen, said her husband plans to stay in Mexico until he could apply to come to the United States legally.
“I don’t know [about] the future,” she wrote in the email.
Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...