Fresh violence in Mexican Caribbean: Gunfire in popular resort town terrifies tourists

Seven people were arrested for the shooting on Playa del Carmen’s busy pedestrian walkway

Quinta Avenida - Playa del Carmen
Images of the shooting on Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen (Quintana Roo), this Saturday.WECAMSDEMEXICO/LUNATA HOTEL (via REUTERS)

Dozens of tourists shopping on Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen’s (Quintana Roo, Mexico) busy pedestrian walkway, ran for cover as gunfire broke out in the middle of the day. The shooting was captured by a hotel security camera situated along a popular tourist area of this small town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

According to police reports, three bystanders suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and are currently in stable condition. Security forces have detained seven Mexican nationals involved in the shooting, and seized three firearms and 31 bags of marijuana.

Tensions have intensified in Quintana Roo, the Mexican state that covers half of the country’s Yucatán Peninsula, after several recent arrests of drug traffickers. On July 22, the Quintana Roo Attorney General reported that it has dismantled an alleged offshoot of the Gulf Cartel, resulting in the arrests of 26 people in the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes Playa del Carmen. According to Attorney General Óscar Montes de Oca, the leader of the organization known as “El Rizos” was among those arrested, and has been charged with drug dealing, extortion, and murder.

Mexican authorities are already speaking openly about the ever-greater presence of organized crime in the state of Quintana Roo. The heart of the Mexican Caribbean has been racking up a string of incidents that bear the hallmarks of drug gangs: killings, shootings and bodies left on the street as a message.

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