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Cancun murders continue to surge as drug cartels wage a bloody turf war

April 21, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cancun murders continue to surge as drug cartels wage a bloody turf war

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One of the most popular tourist hotspots in Mexico has recently been converted to one of the most violent battlegrounds in a turf war between rival drug cartels.

Cancun recorded to 14 slayings in one 36-hour period that began on April 4th. Nine of the 14 people were murdered on April 4th, making it the bloodiest single day in Cancun in over ten years.

Six unrelated incidents accounted for the 14 killings and left five others with gunshot injuries. The murder rates in Cancun have doubled in the last year, and 113 people have been murdered in the tourist hotspot so far this year.

Mexican news outlet Notacaribe reported that early April has been the deadliest spell in Cancun since March 2013, an increase highlighted by hitmen killing seven victims inside the bar La Sirenita.

Most of the murders seem to be drug-related. According to the Sun, a one woman’s body was discovered face down in the street near a resort, her face disfigured after she was beaten to death. “Narcomanta,” which translates to “drug cloth” was left on her body with a message that said: “Go to hell.”

In a separate conflict, five others were discovered dead inside the same residence. Residents told Notacaribe that the deceased were involved in drug trafficking for years.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico’s most recent travel advisory, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo was not designated any more dangerous than the majority of the country, but that advisory was released on March 16th. Quintana Roo has categorized as a Level 2 threat, with visitors advised to “exercise increased caution.”

Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas are designated as “do not travel” states.

The increase in violence in the resort city is probably due to the intense turf war between a group of alleged gunmen loyal to Leticia “Dona Lety” Rodriguez Lara, who has links to El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel, and the rival group, Los Zetas. Lara was a former federal officer before she allegedly started managing the drug gang. She was apprehended in August.

The two gangs, seeing opportunity in the U.S. market, have begun to switch from producing marijuana to harvesting opium poppies to make heroin.

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