Once calm beach resort areas like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are becoming prized territories for drug cartels, according to recent narco banners hung in the cities.
For years, Cancun and Playa del Carmen were popular tourist spots effectively immune to drug violence that has overtaken other parts of Mexico. The uptick is attributed to the fight over the lucrative drug markets by CJNG, Los Zetas, Gulf, and independent groups loyal to the Sinaloa Cartel. So far this year in Cancun, there have been 107 murders with local cops accounting for seven of the victims.
The warnings in banners come at a time when the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel warning to American tourists about the escalating violence in that country, Breitbart Texas reported. The alert notes the spreading violence to the once calm beach resorts of Mexico. Famed cities like Cancun, Los Cabos, Cozumel, and others are now being fought over by cartel gunmen sending murder figures on an upward trend.
One banner recently hung in Playa del Carmen announced that the Gulf Cartel and its strike team, Grupo Escorpion, were now in the vicinity, local journalists reported. In their message, the drug cartel claimed they were in town to “clean up” the area and remove petty criminals disturbing the peace. The Gulf Cartel has historically been the leading criminal organization in the northeastern part of Tamaulipas with multiple drug distribution lines throughout Texas and into major metropolitan cities nationwide.
Another narco banner hung in Playa del Carmen specifically calls out State Police Commander Alejandro Meraz who also goes by the nickname of “Pollo,” a local news outlet reported. The cartel message accuses him receiving money from the Gulf Cartel and orders him to fall back in line and get his personnel to do so as well.
In a separate banner hung in Cancun, a cartel figure only identified as “Kellogs” posted multiple photographs and names of municipal police officers who he accuses of being on the payroll of Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), the local outlet Quintana Roo Grafico reported. In the message, the group claims that if state authorities do not remove the alleged cartel cops, his people will step in.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)