Two dead after gunmen opened fire near Ritzy, a resort in Cancun area
(NEXSTAR) – Two people were shot dead near an upscale Mexican resort south of Cancun on Thursday.
The fatal shooting occurred on a beach in Bahia Petempich, Puerto Morelos, according to the Quintana Roo attorney general’s office.
The two suspected drug traffickers killed on Thursday had apparently arrived on the beach outside the Azul Beach Resort and Hyatt Ziva Cancun, claiming it was now their territory.
“About 15 people arrived on the beach to assassinate two men who had come forward saying they were the new dealers in the area,” Quintana Roo’s chief state prosecutor told Radio Formula, Oscar Montes de Oca.
Quintana Roo’s public security secretariat added: “No tourist was seriously injured or kidnapped.”
Puerto Morelos is located approximately 24 km south of Cancun, along the Caribbean coast dotted with luxury beachfront resorts.
The Mexican newspaper Milenio reports that an armed group arrived by boat and opened fire, killing two rivals and scattering terrified tourists.
Several cartels are fighting for the lucrative drug retail trade in the region, including the Jalisco Cartel and a gang allied with the Gulf Cartel.
According to Milenio, a visitor was shot in the head with a gun and was treated for a minor injury.
Guests at the five-star Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun Resort have said they are told to take shelter in their rooms while security swept the property.
A man named Mike Sington shared photos of furniture piled up behind his bedroom door on Twitter as he took shelter in place. An hour later, he posted a video of dozens of guests, many of whom wore only swimsuits, gathered in the lobby awaiting instructions.
Rival cartels often kill street dealers from another gang in Mexico to eliminate the competition and ensure their drugs are sold first. This is not the first time that tourists have been caught in the crossfire.
The shooting comes two weeks after a California travel blogger and another foreign tourist were shot in Tulum, which is also in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
An Indian-born San José, Calif., Woman Anjali Ryot and German citizen Jennifer Henzold were apparently struck by crossfire during the October 20 shooting in Tulum, south of Puerto Morelos.
Three other foreign tourists were injured in the shooting at a street-side restaurant that has outdoor tables, just off Tulum’s main street. They included two German men and a Dutch woman.
The German Foreign Ministry has issued a travel advisory on violence, advising its citizens “if you are currently in the Tulum or Playa del Carmen area, do not leave your secure hotel facilities.”
The Tulum shooting also apparently broke out between two groups that sell street-level drugs in the area, prosecutors said.
There were signs that the situation in the state of Quintana Roo, where all the resorts are located, was out of control months ago. In June, two men were shot dead on Tulum beach and a third was injured.
And in nearby Playa del Carmen, police staged a massive raid in October on the resort town’s restaurant-lined Quinta Avenida, arresting 26 suspects – most apparently for dealing drugs – after a policewoman from the town was shot and locked in the trunk of a car last week. Prosecutors said Friday they arrested a suspect in the murder.
Crime “has increased a bit with the extortion, with drug sales to foreigners and Mexicans,” the prosecutor’s office said of the raid.
The administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has placed its hopes on what is known as the Riviera Maya, where it has announced its intention to build an international airport and a stop for the Maya train, which will circulate in a loop around the peninsula. of Yucatan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.