Seven men were gunned down in a Cancún residence Sunday as cartel-related homicides continue to shock the traditionally tourist-friendly city.
Municipal police responded to a shots-fired call at approximately 5 am near a residence located at Supermanzana 219, according to local reporting. Officers discovered five male murder victims outside and two more within the home.
Witnesses reportedly said at least three gunmen arrived in a Dodge Ram 2500, possibly followed by another vehicle. They opened fire on the five standing outside and then entered to kill the remaining two, according to Alberto Capella, the State Director of Public Security. Nearby home security cameras provided information on vehicle descriptions. Forensic investigators recovered at least 18 shell casings from .223, 7.62 mm, and 9 mm calibers. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire for 1 to 2 minutes.
During a press conference, Capella asked citizens for help in locating the suspects responsible for the attack and blamed a turf war between rival street-level gangs as the cause. Capella identified a suspect, “El Gomitas,” as the leader of the group responsible for the shooting. Capella said Cancún would be receiving reinforcements from federal police.
On January 7, nearby Playa Del Carmen suffered a homicide case involving seven victims after two men carrying rifles stormed a bar and began firing indiscriminately. Theories being examined by law enforcement suggests the attack was a pressure play on business owners to change the recipients of their protection money. Despite being known as a “safe” region, Cancún and its surrounding areas are suffering a spike in cartel violence as rival criminal organizations fight for control of the lucrative local drug market, sex trade, and trafficking routes provided by the nearby international shipping ports.
Statistics compiled by local media from law enforcement sources suggest Cancún already suffered 25 homicides in 2019. Breitbart News recently reported that in 2018, Cancún smashed its previous annual record for murders with at least 540—the previous mark was 227 in 2017.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org