The U.S. State Department is warning tourists about cartel violence spreading to the once calm beach resorts of Mexico. Famed cities like Cancun, Los Cabos, Cozumel, and others are now being fought over by gunmen.
In its most recent revision to the Mexico travel warning, State warns U.S. citizens about the risks of traveling to certain parts due to the ongoing cartel violence. The travel alert upgrades the warning for the two states of Quintana Roo (Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum) and Baja California Sur (Los Cabos and La Paz). State Department officials further warn that U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes in Mexico including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. The latest warning replaces a December 2016 alert.
According to State Department officials, U.S. citizens should be aware that based on Mexican Government statistics, Quintana Roo and Baja California have experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016. While most homicides appeared to be targeted cartel murders; gun battles have taken place in areas frequented by U.S. tourists. Those resort areas saw various shootings where innocents bystanders were hit and killed.
In January, dozens were injured at a nightclub in Playa Del Carmen, not far from Cancun when a team of gunmen opened fire. Five victims died that night. In the days after, shooters carried out various attacks on police buildings, Breitbart Texas reported.
In August, a team of cartel gunmen murdered three people at the entrance to a popular beach in Los Cabos, a municipality on the Pacific Coast.
For years, both popular tourist regions were effectively immune from the drug violence that has overtaken other parts of Mexico. The uptick is attributed to the fight over the lucrative drug markets of Cancun and Playa de Carmen by Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, independent groups loyal to the Sinaloa Cartel.