Mexico arrests 2 suspects in beach shooting
Mexican authorities on Saturday arrested two people suspected of being involved in a shooting between rival gangs on a beach near the Caribbean resort of Cancun which left two dead.
The armed clash, which took place on Thursday, was the second to rock Mexico’s Riviera Maya in recent weeks and is yet another blow to a tourism industry still recovering from the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Quintana Roo’s Eastern State Attorney General’s Office said it had managed to locate three of the four vehicles the suspected shooters were using to get to the beach. They arrested two people who were driving, while one managed to escape.
“Two drivers were captured while a third fled, and there was even an exchange of gunfire with police, managing to escape to a jungle area,” the attorney general said in a statement.
The office also said that initial investigations showed that the groups involved that day had split off from the Sinaloa cartel which “contests over territory for the sale of drugs”.
The November 4 shooting took place on the beach outside one of the luxury hotels near Cancun, a popular tourist destination.
Local authorities said the clash took place between rival drug trafficking gangs.
Mexico is in the throes of a cartel-linked bloodshed that has seen more than 300,000 people murdered since the government deployed the military to the war on drugs in 2006.
While the Riviera Maya, home to Cancun and other top resorts including Playa del Carmen and Tulum, is generally considered safer than much of the country, the violence has increased.
Last month, two German and Indian tourists were killed in a shootout between suspected drug traffickers in Tulum, while several others were injured.
In 2017, three foreigners were among five killed in a shooting at an electronic music festival in Playa del Carmen.
The incidents have led European countries and the United States to warn their citizens of the risks of visiting the Mexican Caribbean, one of the best beach destinations in the world.
Tourism accounts for 8.5% of Mexico’s gross domestic product and is the main economic activity in the Southeast region, which includes the Riviera Maya.
Although Mexico has remained open to foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic, the drop in visitor numbers has taken a heavy toll on the country’s tourism industry.