The United States Embassy in Mexico City issued a security alert on March 1, prohibiting all federal employees from boarding any tourist ferries operating between the popular vacation destinations of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.
This alert was issued after two un-detonated explosive devices were found attached to a tourist ferry, Barcos Caribe II, by Mexican law enforcement in Cozumel. This security alert also makes reference to a recent explosive device which detonated on a ferry in Playa del Carmen on February 21, resulting in injuries, including U.S. citizens. The alert prohibits federal employees from using all tourist ferries on this route until further notice. According to local media reports, the Barcos Caribe II was docked and under repairs in Cozumel for at least 10 months prior.
The issued alert provides further instructions to its employees as to precautionary actions to take:
- Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution.
- Purchase travel insurance that specifically covers you in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.
- Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance.
Breitbart Texas reported on the initial alleged cartel bomb blast that ripped through the tourist ferry, Barcos Caribe, leaving 24 injured, including seven U.S. citizens.
Breitbart Texas also previously reported on the discovery of a narco-banner in the form of a tarp with a threatening message addressed to the mayor of Cozumel, Perla Tun Pech, claiming responsibility for the blast on February 21. The banner, which was discovered in the early morning hours of February 27, was signed by the Cártel de “El Pumba” y “Tata” and warned the same will happen to the mayor’s home. Adjacent to the signature of “El Pumba” y “Tata,” there was also a “Z,” indicating that the authors are presumably aligned with Los Zetas Cartel.
Due to the ongoing cartel violence, the U.S. State Department previously issued a level 2 warning for Quintana Roo—directly impacting Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel. The level 2 advisory calls on travelers to exercise caution but does not explicitly suggest they avoid the regions.
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.)