Two alleged drug dealers died this Thursday after being shot on the beach of an exclusive neighboring resort in Cancun, the main tourist destination in the Mexican Caribbean, the local prosecutor’s office reported.
“There was a confrontation between members of antagonistic groups of drug dealers on a beach in Bahía Petempich, Puerto Morelos. Two of them lost their lives there. There are no serious injuries,” the Quintana Roo prosecutor’s office reported.
The events took place in the beach area of the Hyatt Riviera hotel, which is part of the luxurious resorts of the Mexican Caribbean.
“Gunmen came shooting,” tweeted Mike Sington, executive of the US network NBC Universal, who was at the scene.
“They all ran from the beach and the pools. The (hotel) staff told us to hide in the rooms behind the kitchens,” he added.
On October 20, another shootout between alleged drug dealers killed two tourists, one German and one Indian, in Tulum, a resort south of Cancun and a neighbor of the paradisiacal Riviera Maya.
Sington posted on his verified Twitter account images of tourists, many in bathing suits, sheltering in the corridors of the Hyatt Riviera hotel.
Forensic service personnel and members of the National Guard arrived at the facilities, while a helicopter from the Secretary of the Navy flew over the area, AFP observed.
Tense and covering their faces, some employees evacuated the hotel on company buses. “People are hugging and crying,” Sington described.
Puerto Morelos, where the confrontation broke out, is a neighbor of Cancun, the main recipient of foreign tourists from Mexico.
Violence linked to crime, especially the retail sale of drugs, has hit the Mexican Caribbean for years.
Most of the violent incidents have been registered far from exclusive hotels, but in recent years there have been armed clashes in tourist areas such as this Thursday.
In January 2017, three foreigners and two Mexicans died during a shooting at an electronic music festival in neighboring Playa del Carmen.
These incidents have led European countries and the United States to issue alerts to their citizens about the risks of visiting the Mexican Caribbean, among the main beach destinations worldwide.
Tourism represents 8.5% of Mexico’s GDP and is the main economic activity in the southeastern region of the country.
Since December 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation, more than 300,000 violent deaths have been recorded in Mexico, according to authorities, who attribute most of the murders to organized crime.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.