Six Sinaloa Cartel Operatives Arrested in Mexican Tourist Hotspot

Municipal police trucks drive past strolling tourists, as they leave the Blue Parrot club, where several people were killed in early morning gunfire, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. Deadly gunfire broke out in the crowded beachfront nightclub throbbing with electronic music before dawn on Monday, setting …
AP File Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Mexican police arrested six Sinaloa Cartel operatives including a suspected “plaza boss” late last month in the tourist hotspot of Playa del Carmen. The arrest came during a combined military and police operation. The Secretary of Public Security waited until this week to announce the news of the arrests which took place on June 29.

The Secretary of Public Security for the state of Quintana Roo Alberto Capella announced the arrest of six Sinaloa Cartel operatives including the alleged plaza boss of the tourist hotspot Playa del Carmen. The announcement of the arrests which took place on June 29 came during a press conference earlier this week. The presence of the Sinaloa cartel along with rival warring, criminal gangs have been attributed to the spike in killings related to a bitter cartel turf war and lower-level street dealers aligned with the major cartels. The state of Quintana Roo notched 122 killings during the month of June.

Officials identified the arrested Sinola operatives as Amid “N”, the alleged leader and Sinaloa Cartel plaza boss, Héctor “N”, 37; Antonio “N”, 45, Sergio “N”, 27; Modesto “N”, 38; and Iván “N”, 42. Personnel of the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) and elements of the State Police of Qunitana Roo carried out the joint operation.

The first arrest took place at the Lol Ka Tuun section of Playa del Carmen where authorities arrested Amid “N” at a residence. Officials found him to be in possession of a firearm. Authorities arrested hhe five additional Sinaloa Cartel operatives during the second operation carried out at theHotel Encanto Riviera in Playa del Carmen. Police found all five operatives to be armed and in possession of drugs.

Amid participated in a documentary filmed by a Canadian television network, CTV News, in April. According to the documentary, Amid, who identified himself by the alias of “Manuel,” boasted about organizing the shipments of at least 300 kilos of cocaine to the U.S. and claimed to have generated approximately 15 million pesos ($800,000 USD) for the Sinaloa Cartel. He appeared in the video wearing a ballistic vest with baklava covering his face. He also spoke in clear English during his interview with CTV News reporter Avery Haines. Amid was accompanied by two bodyguards who also had their faces covered. He states during his interview that his intentions were not to become a “great drug lord,” but instead make a lot of money. He claims to have lived in the U.S. for several years and to have served in the U.S. Armed forces for two deployments to Afghanistan.

Authorities turned the six cartel operatives over to investigative personnel from the state attorney general’s office for drug trafficking charges.

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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