A violent confrontation between suspected cartel gunmen erupted in the Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco) tourist zone on Saturday, leaving two victims dead and three others wounded.
The shooting occurred at approximately 1 am on Calle 13 during peak business hours, causing panic as gunshots rang out among the thousands of tourists that filled the bars, clubs, pedestrian walkways, and public roads, according to local reports. During the chaos, a truck of vacationers attempting to flee accidentally crashed into a Red Cross ambulance that was responding to the scene.
Rocky Point is approximately 60 miles south of the Arizona-Mexico Border and is a popular weekend and holiday spot.
The two shooting victims who died were identified as Ramón Sosol Vázquez, 44, who was shot at least six times; and Gabriel Corral Vizcarra, 40, also shot multiple times. Both were Mexican citizens.
Of the three wounded but expected to survive, one was identified as Lizet Garza, 19, vacationing from Phoenix, Arizona—she received a gunshot wound to her leg. Two other Mexican citizens also suffered gunshot wounds in their legs–identified as 33 and 48-year-old males.
Local media reported that after the shooting, the gunmen fled in different vehicles–one described as a silver-colored van which was abandoned with an AK-47 rifle in the backseat.
It was also reported by local media outlets that a second vehicle was discovered abandoned 17 kilometers from Rocky Point on Caborca Highway. The vehicle was described as a Dodge Charger and had been reported stolen with Arizona license plates. Two AK-47s and a handgun were discovered inside, according to local reports.
According to Breitbart Texas law enforcement sources, it is believed that the violence can be attributed to a dispute between rival factions of the Sinaloa Cartel operating in the region.
The most recent travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department in 2017 notes that “Puerto Peñasco should be visited using the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours” because of drug and crime problems in other parts of the state, including a triangular region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar.
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.)