Cancún Cartels Set New Murder Record — 286 in 2018

Cancun Beach Security -- Getty Images
File Photo: Getty Images

Formerly peaceful Cancún continues to experience shocking levels of cartel violence as the total number of murders reached a new record of 286 for a single year.

There were 227 dead in 2017, according to local reports.

During a 24-hour period last week, at least six murders occurred, including a shooting on the crowded beach of Playa de Tortugas, which resulted in the death of one victim.

The violence began last Wednesday afternoon when two armed men riding on a motorcycle opened fire on a vehicle at the entrance of the hotel tourist zone–wounding a male driver and passenger causing the vehicle to crash into a barrier, according to local reports. Both victims were wounded and the two gunmen abandoned the motorcycle and fled on foot. The victims’ vehicle sustained at least 15 bullet impacts.

On Wednesday evening, a student at a private university identified as Jorge Gabriel GM was murdered in a campus parking lot as he was walking to his vehicle. The victim was reportedly an employee of the municipality of Benito Juárez and worked in the inspections and audit unit, according to a press conference given by the state attorney general Miguel Ángel Pech Cen.

On Thursday, at 8 am, police responded to the discovery of a 35-year-old male victim found in a pile of trash in Región 215, colonia San Juan. The victim was shot multiple times with his feet and hands bound.

At 11 am, an 18-year-old male was found murdered at a residence in Región 102 after being shot numerous times. Witnesses observed two suspects fleeing the area.

Later in the day, gunfire broke out after a dispute between mobile vendors in crowded Playa de Tortugas in which a gun was fired and two victims were wounded in plain view of dozens of tourists. One of the victims later died at a local hospital. According to local media reports, the two vendors were believed involved in drug activity.

At 4 pm, a motorcyclist was gunned down in Región 238 near Avenida 20 de Noviembre where police and paramedics located his body. According to witnesses, five gunshots were heard and two suspects were observed fleeing the area.

At approximately 8 pm, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at a victim traveling in a vehicle in colonia Paseos del Mar. The victim was struck by multiple rounds and died at the scene.

In a most recent attack, a taxi driver was shot while parked at a stand in front of the popular five star Hotel Iberostar at approximately 1 am on Sunday, July 22. The driver sustained gunshot wounds and was transported to a local hospital.

Breitbart Texas reported extensively on the out of control cartel violence in Cancun.

Cancun Homicide Cases per Year

2018 — 286 (as of July 19)

2017 — 227

2016 — 61

2015 — 37

2014 — 21

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.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at


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