Sinaloa Cartel capo Héctor Elías Flores Aceves — alias “El 15″ — was arrested early Saturday morning in an operation led by the Mexican army and National Guard. Hector Elías Flores was part of Los Chapitos, a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel led by the sons of jailed drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and controlled the plaza — a drug marketplace or turf — of Cancún, which is considered the major tourist attraction of the Mexican Caribbean. The city in the state of Quintana Roo attracts millions of tourists a year, but its booming business has also attracted organized crime.
El 15 was arrested in the city of Guamúchil, Sinaloa, and later transferred to Cancún to appear before a judge. In April, the Quintana Roo Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for the cartel leader and offered a reward of half a million pesos for information on his whereabouts. Mexican authorities accuse Flores Aceves of the murder of four people, who were killed in April during Easter week.
Authorities found the bodies of the victims on the beach in front of Cancún’s Fiesta Americana Condesa hotel, a luxury, all-inclusive resort that is one of the most popular vacation spots in Mexico. Security forces arrived at the scene after an emergency call reported that three people with gunshot wounds had been found on one of the most exclusive beaches in the city.
Narco-related violence has become a constant threat in Cancún. In January 2022, the manager of a resort was murdered in the bathroom of the establishment. Before that, two Canadian tourists were killed in a shootout at Hotel Xcaret, a massive tourist development the size of 150 soccer fields on the Mexican Rivera Maya. And at the beginning of November 2021, an armed group burst into another exclusive hotel nearby and killed two people in the reception.
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