Gunmen on jet skis open fire on a beach in the resort town of Cancun in Mexico
CANCUN, Mexico – Gunfire erupted Tuesday at a beach in the Mexican resort town of Cancun on the Caribbean coast, sending tourists rushing for safety, but authorities said no one appeared to be injured.
Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, the police chief of the coastal state of Quintana Roo, said the attackers apparently pulled up to the beach in a jet ski and opened fire on a beach in the Cancun hotel zone. Hernández Gutiérrez said the jet skis were found and seized.
A witness to the attack, Rick Lebassa, a tourist from Maine, said two or three gunmen appeared to shoot pistols in the air, not on the beach.
“There were two guys and maybe even a third, who came in on a jet ski, and what I saw was they were soaring into the sky,” Lebassa said. “I didn’t see a single shot coming ashore.”
Lebassa says it was the first such incident he saw in his 31 years of coming to Cancun.
“I’m not too worried because it’s the first time,” Lebassa said. “We’ve been going downhill for 31 years and we’ve never had a problem.”
However, not everyone was as unfazed as Lebassa.
Andy Guyrich and Kerry Arms, who were from Minnesota, described more gunfire and terror on the beach.
“We just had to hit the bridge,” Guyrich said.
Arms initially thought it was some kind of show.
“There was a reaction delayed by about five seconds and then everyone started scrambling and screaming and crying and running,” Arms said.
The shooting is the latest in a series of violent incidents on the resort-dotted coastline, and came the same week that a special battalion of National Guard troops was assigned to protect the area. Mexican Marines wearing bulletproof vests, helmets and assault rifles were seen patrolling the tourist-packed beaches of Cancun after Tuesday’s shooting.
On November 5, a commando of armed drug gang men stormed a beach in Puerto Morelos, a resort town just south of Cancun, and opened fire outside luxury hotels, executing two drug traffickers. drug from a rival gang. The dramatic shooting sent tourists rushing for safety.
State officials called it a “clash between rival drug trafficking groups on a beach” near two hotels. Several cartels fight over the region’s lucrative retail drug trade, including the Jalisco Cartel and a gang allied with the Gulf Cartel.
The shootings were the latest chapter in drug gang violence that has marred the reputation of Mexico’s Caribbean coast as a once tranquil oasis.
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 Puerto Morelos shooting came two weeks after a California blogger and a German tourist were killed in a similar shootout in the resort town of Tulum in October.
Indian-born San José, Calif., Anjali Ryot and German citizen Jennifer Henzold were reportedly 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 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 selling drugs – after a policewoman from the town was gunned down and locked in the trunk of a car last week. Prosecutors said Friday they arrested a suspect in the murder.
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.
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