'I was saved from kidnapping in Mexico'

Israeli woman describes attempt by Mexican cartel to kidnap her and her friend while staying at hotel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flash 90

Israel Hayom related today, Tuesday, the story of Maya Tal, a young Israeli woman from the Sharon region who claims to have been saved from a kidnapping during a trip to Mexico.

Tal returned Monday from the trip and told the newspaper that she was afraid to reveal the story that took place about a week and a half ago, as long as she was in the country. Now she wants to warn vacationers of the great danger.

"The story began when we arrived in the city of Tulum after we booked at the ‘Latino Hotel.’ When we arrived, it was a little strange to see that the hotel was empty. There were four of us - two girls and two guys. The first night, we were together and everything was normal. On the second night, the guys left the hotel and went out, and I went to speak on the telephone while my friend slept in the room. Up until then, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I spoke on the phone, I saw that the hotel clerk was looking at me strangely over the counter, and I felt that something was off because he was watching me closely, and I went back to the room hoping I was just imagining," she said.

"At 12 p.m., we heard a loud knocking on the door. It was just my girlfriend and me, and I did not understand who it was. I opened the door and saw the same clerk who had looked at me a short time before. He demanded that we leave the room and move for two hours to another hotel. He said that they would pay for it.”

"It was frightening. He asked how much money we had and whether we had tattoos - very strange questions. I realized that something strange was happening, I closed the door, locked it and called a Spanish-speaking Swiss guy who had already been in Mexico for a long time whom we had met several days before. I told him the story and he immediately understood what was going on - he said we had fallen into a scam of a cartel that planned to kidnap us. He told us not to hang up and pack quickly, and he promised that he would come to take us, and that’s what happened. He got there in ten minutes.”

Tal went on to tell the newspaper what happened to her: "When he came, my girlfriend tried to leave the room, where the clerk was waiting for her. He stood there and pushed her back inside, begging her not to leave the room, but the guy who came to help us heard everything from phone and told us to just leave quickly, and we did. We ran with our bags and got into his car. He drove away at an insane speed, and took sharp turns. When we arrived at a safe area, he told us that someone else he knew had gone through the same thing about two weeks earlier, when three men had kidnapped her in exactly the same way. Fortunately, we were saved at the last minute.”

Tal concluded with advice for other tourists: "Every tourist who comes to a country that is not 100 percent safe should verify that the hotels have a lot of reviews and that they are safe places. If you see the hotel is empty or something is strange, checking out other options is recommended. When we asked people in the area about this hotel, they didn’t know of its existence, and some even said that it did not exist a few days earlier. That’s the method - a fake hotel for the purpose of harming innocent tourists."