As Drug Cartel Violence Rises, Cancún Tourists Advised To Be More Cautious

By Victoria Kim 04/18/18

According to reports, 14 drug-related murders occurred over a 36-hour period in the popular tourist destination.

Image: 
tourists walking over a wooden pier in Cancun

Drug traffickers may be closing in on the city of Cancún, Mexico, as evidenced by a recent spate of homicides.

Violence was not a major issue in the idyllic beach tourism hotspot in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. But a suspected turf war has resulted in over a dozen drug-related murders in less than a month.

Australia’s Nine News reported that 14 murders occurred in a 36-hour period in the city, starting on April 4. Five more people survived gunshot wounds.

The violence reportedly keeps rising. The murder rate in Cancún doubled in the past year, according to Nine News. So far, the city has counted 113 murders in 2018, with April now on track to be the deadliest month thus far.

According to the Miami Herald, most of this month’s homicides appear to have been drug-related.

The details of these killings are horrific. Five people in one home were “brutally executed” on the night of April 4, and a beach vendor was gunned down in broad daylight near a luxury hotel. A few days later, a police commander, his wife, and 8-month-old nephew, were executed in the middle of a busy shopping center.

In March, before the April killings, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 2 travel advisory for Cancún, advising Americans to “exercise increased caution” while visiting the city.

“Some areas have increased risk,” the advisory read. “Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread.”

Some suspect that the escalating violence may be the result of a turf war between individuals related to the Sinaloa drug cartel and its rival, Los Zetas. According to Nine News, many of the victims belong to these two gangs, as they battle for control of the tourist hotspot.

Leticia Rodriguez Lara, 49, reportedly has ties to the Sinaloa cartel as a leader. The former police officer was arrested in Mexico and is facing charges related to drug trafficking.

The notorious drug lord who ruled the Sinaloa cartel before his arrest and extradition to the United States, Joaquín Guzmán Loera (also known as “El Chapo”), is being held in New York City ahead of a September trial where he will face drug trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The 61-year-old drug lord had a pre-trial hearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday (April 17).

According to court filings submitted by his lawyers, El Chapo’s mental and physical health has deteriorated in jail. He has been held in solitary confinement since his extradition in January 2017, according to Reuters.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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