Tagged: Cancun

SUN, SEA AND SLAUGHTER – Mexico’s party hotspot Cancun sees 14 murdered in 36 hours as tourist town is overrun by drug gang violence

(THE SUN) — MEXICO’S most popular holiday hotspot has become overrun with drug gangs, as violence in the tourist party town escalates to unprecedented levels.

Cancun has seen 14 murders in just 36 hours – the highest ever in the country’s recorded history, according to Noticaribe.

The latest violence on April 4 saw 14 people killed and at least five others left with gunshot wounds, in six separate instances in the party town.

The figures surpass Cancun’s previous ‘record’ of nine killings in a day on November 25, 2004.

More than 100 people have now been slaughtered in Cancun since the beginning of 2018, as Mexico’s cartels continue to spread fear throughout the country.

The Mexican tourist hotspot’s growing crime wave threatens to leave it a ghost town, with most murders in Cancun remaining unsolved.

Amid a thriving drug trade and widespread extortion, fear is rampant and threatens to have a knock-on effect on the country’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry.

British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy recently traveled to Mexico for SBS’s Dateline to investigate why so many murders are taking place.

“This is one of the most beautiful views in the world and we are the only people here,” Guru-Murthy said from Cancun’s main beach.

Later, just before sunset, he found himself in the middle of a crime scene — a man had been gunned down in the sand.

Four men had come in through a luxury hotel and attacked the man, who later died in hospital.

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Violence in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos threaten Mexico’s tourism industry

(USA TODAY) — PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Tourists taking the ferry from this tourist town to the island of Cozumel now walk down a wharf lined with police, heavily armed soldiers and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Those safeguards came after a Feb. 21 explosion ripped through one of the ferries, injuring 24 people, including five Americans. Explosives were later found on another ferry owned by the same company.

“It’s something that makes you feel safer,” Roberto Cintrón, president of the Cancún hotel owners’ association, said about the soldiers and security after a recent ferry ride to Cozumel. “It’s the complete opposite situation of the insecurity many people think of.”

Numerous reports about crime and tourist tragedies have made recent headlines as the violence plaguing this country erupts in cities popular with foreign visitors.

Incidents causing concern in Cancún and outlying Quintana Roo state range from bars allegedly serving adulterated liquor to unsuspecting tourists to police targeting visitors in rental cars for bribes.

A vacationing Iowa family of four was found dead March 23 in a condo in Tulum on the Caribbean coast. Authorities suspect the cause was a gas leak from a faulty water heater

Violence in resort cities such as Cancún, Playa del Carmen (in Quintana Roo state) and Los Cabos resembles the rest of the country, but it threatens Mexico’s lucrative tourism industry.

“The common thread in Los Cabos and Quintana Roo is the public security system had been totally dismantled,” said Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, which monitors security issues in Mexico. “There were prosecutor’s offices that didn’t investigate and police that couldn’t prevent or react to crime.”

Analysts offer a variety of explanations for the rising crime across Mexico, from drug cartels to the U.S. opioid crisis prompting cartels to switch from growing marijuana to producing heroin.

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Cancún: from tourist beach paradise to hotbed of Mexico’s drug violence

(THE GUARDIAN) — The Playamed hospital is an unremarkable two-storey building on a quiet street lined with red-blossomed flame trees, just a few minutes’ drive from the white-sand beaches and all-inclusive resorts of Cancún’s hotel zone.

Recently, however, it was the setting for an incident underlining the relentless spread of Mexico’s drug war to cities previously best known as beach holiday destinations.

Four gunmen burst into a private room at the clinic last week, where they shot dead Alfonso Contreras Espinoza and his wife. Known as “El Poncho”, the murdered man was reputed to be the local boss for the Gulf cartel, and had been released from a local prison to receive treatment for a leg problem.

Investigators discovered a bag of white powder under his leg and a scale, suggesting that Contreras had been dealing from his sickbed.

On a recent morning, hospital officials declined to comment on the brazen attack. Paramedics standing in the shade outside looked away or stared into their smartphones when asked about the incident.

Not so long ago, Cancún sparkled as the crown jewel of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. But rampant corruption, chaotic development and a string of murders have all tarnished the resort city’s reputation.
From glamour to gunfire: the tourist city of Acapulco torn apart by violence
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Other tourist hotspots have also been caught in Mexico’s red tide: Acapulco, once the country’s most glamorous beach spot, is now the setting for relentless gang violence; late last year, the bodies of six men were left hanging from bridges near Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula. Earlier this month, a Mexican thinktank named Los Cabos the world’s most dangerous city outside a war zone.

The problems of Mexico’s resort cities mirror those of the country, which last year suffered its most murderous year in memory.

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MURDER IN PARADISE How Mexico’s party hotspot Cancun has become one of the world’s murder capitals

(THE SUN) — THE Mexican tourist hotspot of Cancun is in the grips of a violent and growing crime wave that threatens to leave it a ghost town.

Violence has escalated to such an extent that the murder rate has doubled in the past year – with 169 killings recorded in the first half of last year alone.

Amid a thriving drug trade and widespread extortion, fear is rampant and most of the murders go unsolved.

Now, the situation is so dire that its multi-billion dollar tourism industry is under threat.

British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy traveled to Mexico for SBS’s Dateline to investigate why so many murders are taking place.

“This is one of the most beautiful views in the world and we are the only people here,” Guru-Murthy said from Cancun’s main beach.

Later on, just before sunset, he found himself in the middle of a crime scene — a man had been gunned down in the sand. Four men had come in through a luxury hotel and attacked the man, who later died in hospital. And this was meant to be one of the safer places in the area frequented by tens of thousands of Brit tourist ever year.

Guru-Murthy was also shocked by the lack of police presence, with many tourists unaware of the gruesome sight just meters away.

“It’s as if the police don’t want anyone to notice. There’s minimum fuss and hardly any officers here,” he said.

While it’s the third shooting on the beach in Cancun this year, tourists are deliberately not told of the dangers.

Even when a well-known police commander, his wife and baby nephew were shot dead, nobody was arrested.

There are fears that Cancun is now on the brink of ruin and could face a similar demise as another well known Mexican resort, Acapulco.

This was once one of the world’s most glamorous locations but is now Mexico’s murder capital.

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Gunmen storm Cancun hospital, kill regional cartel boss

(BREITBART) — by Robert Arce

Cartel gunmen stormed a private hospital in Cancun and executed a regional Gulf Cartel boss being treated for medical problems while on release from prison.

The execution occurred at approximately 7:00 pm at the Grupo PlayaMex when a group of heavily-armed men entered the hospital and went directly to the patient room of the victim identified as Alfonso Enrique Contreras Espinoza, aka “El Poncho.” The gunmen also killed Contreras Espinoza’s wife who was visiting him. Their six-year-old daughter was unharmed, according to local media reports. An unarmed security at the bedside with the victim was also spared.

The state attorney general’s office revealed that Contreras Espinoza had been the “plaza boss” for the Gulf Cartel in Cancun prior to being jailed by the federal police on July 25, 2014, for weapons and explosives violations. Contreras Espinoza had been in charge of sale and distribution for the local market as well as extortion operations. Contreras Espinoza was previously accused of murder and attempted murder for an intentional fire set at a brothel in 2014 which resulted in five deaths, as reported by Noticaribe.

While waiting in custody for a trial, he was allowed to be released from prison for medical reasons since he had no previous arrests. Media reports indicate he checked himself into Grupo PlayaMex for an ailment to a leg and was a patient at the hospital for several weeks when he was murdered.

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From Cancun to Los Cabos, tourists scared off Mexico’s beaches

(CHRON) — In the spring break capital of Cancun, Mexico, hotel occupancy has tumbled 10 percent this year. As bad as that is, over in Los Cabos, on the tip of the Baja California peninsula, it’s worse.

The airport serving Cabo San Lucas and its lesser-known sister city, San Jose del Cabo, is looking emptier these days. And hotel guests have canceled 35,000 nights of bookings over the next year – collectively a decade’s worth of visits for a single traveler.

At a time when the weaker peso should be luring American travelers in droves, many are staying away, spooked by a wave of violence that’s come dangerously close to tourist hot spots. Gunmen opened fire at a Cancun nightclub in November, and a cooler with two human heads was found on Cabo San Lucas’s main hotel strip in June.

But the biggest blow came on Aug. 22, when the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning advising tourists to steer clear altogether.

“Group tourism automatically went down the moment the warning hit,” said Carlos Gosselin, head of the hotel association for Cancun and Puerto Morelos. Many insurance companies likely won’t even consider offering coverage in areas under advisory, hurting conventions and events in the area, he said.

Mexico is reinforcing security in popular tourist spots to get the State Department to revise its views, and companies including Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International are spending millions to make guests feel safer. Their motivation is clear: Barclays estimates that a drop in tourism could wipe out as much as 0.5 percentage point from Mexico’s gross domestic product growth this year.

“Lower tourism activity will definitely have an impact on growth,” said Marco Oviedo, head of Latin America economic research at Barclays. “External tourism is one of the most important sources of income in the current account.”

Mexico gets about $20 billion a year from tourism. With murders quadrupling in Los Cabos and doubling in Cancun this year, a chunk of that revenue may be at stake. Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun is located, is the destination of a third of all the nation’s international tourists.

In Los Cabos, local and federal authorities are teaming up with hotels, time-share companies and the airport operator to step up the area’s security.

The group is spending $50 million to increase surveillance cameras to cover the 20-mile main stretch that includes hotels, restaurants and public beaches. A new military facility, paid for in part by the private sector, will be built near a highway to respond to any activity spotted on the cameras. It is set to open in the second quarter of 2018.

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U.S. warns citizens about traveling to Cancun

(BLOOMBERG) — The U.S. State Department warned its citizens about traveling to parts of Mexico including Cancun and Playa del Carmen, as homicides rise at resorts popular with American tourists.

The advisory issued on Tuesday upgraded the warnings for two states, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, saying turf wars between crime gangs have led to a surge in violence. The only warning for Quintana Roo in a December statement was about lack of cellular and Internet service in some areas.

The expanded travel advisory hits at the heart of a tourism industry that brings in $20 billion a year for Mexico. The state of Quintana Roo, where the resorts of Tulum and Cozumel are also located, gets 10 million tourists a year, a third of the national total. The warnings come as homicides in Mexico are set to rise to their highest since at least the turn of the century. Quintana Roo alone has seen 169 murders this year.

“Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred” in both states, the U.S. warned. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.”

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Mexico captures Cancun Drug cartel boss

(OCCRP) — Mexican police arrested a woman suspected to be the leader of an organized crime group operating in the tourist resort areas of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, media reported Friday.

Leticia Rodriguez Lara, 48, known as “Dona Lety” or “La 40” is accused of running an independent criminal organization in Cancun that is affiliated with factions of the Sinaloa, Gulf, and Los Zetas cartels.

Her gang was involved in drug sales, extortion of bars and restaurants in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and attacked those who refused to pay the fees demanded, according to Breitbart.

Dona Lety, a former federal police officer and an agent with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, bumped the powerful Los Zetas cartel out of the two resort cities in the last four years to start her own cartel, Mexico News Daily reported.

She did it by recruiting former members of the Zetas and Gulf cartel, as well as ex-convicts and presumably former police colleagues. Once in control of the cities, her criminal organization reigned over the sale of illegal drugs and began to expand into other illicit activities.

Dona Lety was arrested while traveling on the Puebla-Veracruz highway. She has been on Mexico’s wanted list since 2012.

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