Prosecutors said Monday they had arrested six members of a drug gang in the Mexican resort town of Cancun who allegedly killed and macheted five people with a machete and dumped three other victims in a shallow grave.
Authorities said five dismembered bodies were found in a taxi on January 29 and three bodies were later found in a grave, one of which was identified.
The gang, which prosecutors say also engaged in extortion, was protected by a network of motorcycle taxis and minors who acted as lookouts. Authorities said two juveniles were arrested in addition to the six suspected gang members.
Authorities also announced the arrest of 23 people accused of operating a fake travel agency that served as a cover for drug sales in Cancun.
The suspects operated a call center where they offered sports equipment and tour packages to tourists, but failed to deliver them. On the second floor, they ran a complex operation in which drug deals were allegedly made over the phone and delivered by motorcycle. Authorities searching the property reportedly found marijuana, methamphetamines, cell phones, bank cards, laptops and seven motorcycles.
Another suspect was arrested in Cancún. He allegedly both ordered drugs on social media – which were delivered to him by express parcel service – and also sold them on social media, including home delivery.
Monday’s revelations came a day after prosecutors confirmed aand a Belize man were shot dead late last week in what appears to have been a dispute between drug dealers at a beach club in the resort town of Tulum, south of Cancun.
Quintana Roo prosecutors stressed that the American had no connection to a suspected drug trafficker also killed in Friday night’s shooting. The woman appeared to have simply been caught in the crossfire.
Prosecutors said the dead man had cocaine and pills in his possession when he was killed and was suspected of being a drug dealer. They said the suspects in the shooting have been identified and are being sought.
Violence persists on the Caribbean coast
The degree of availability of medicines in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the Caribbean coast, is sometimes surprising.
Last year, authorities closed 23 pharmacies in resort towns on the Caribbean coast, six months after a research report warned that Mexican pharmacies were offering foreigners pills they passed off as medicine. Oxycodone, Percocet and Adderall without a prescription.
Foreign tourists have been killed in the past after being caught in shootouts between drug gangs in this once-quiet resort town.
In 2021 in Tulum, two tourists – a German and aborn in India – were killed while eating in a restaurant. They were apparently caught in the crossfire during a shootout between rival drug dealers.
Last April,were found abandoned in Cancun. A few days before that, in a dispute linked to rivalries between drug gangs. The dead were found in the city’s hotel zone, near the beach.
Last year, the US State Departmentwarning travelers to “exercise increased situational awareness,” especially after dark, in Mexico’s Caribbean resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Tourists, however, continue to flock to Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the country’s main tourist destination. Mexico’s Tourism Ministry released figures Monday showing foreign tourists spent nearly $31 billion across Mexico in 2023, up 10% from 2022. About half of all foreigners visiting the Mexico travel to Cancun.
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