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Mexico will deploy national guard troops to a popular tourist area near Cancun following a series of shootings, including one earlier this month that sent beachgoers running for their lives into nearby hotels.
Speaking Wednesday, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said 1,445 guard members will be sent to Quintana Roo state’s Caribbean coast to reinforce the region’s security. Plans include the establishment of a base in Tulum, where two tourists were killed during an Oct. 20 shootout between drug dealers.
Police security tape covers the exterior of a restaurant the day after a shooting that killed two foreigners and wounded three others caught in the crossfire between drug dealers in Tulum Oct. 22. (AP Photo/Christian Rojas, File)
Three other tourists were injured in that shooting. The additional security efforts will begin on Dec. 1.
The most recent incident occurred Nov. 4, when a squad of armed men killed two suspected drug dealers on a beach in Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun, in broad daylight.
Officials in Quintana Roo said authorities detected 12 gangs running street-level drug deals in Tulum and Puerto Morelos.
Guests gather in a hotel lobby after a Nov. 4 shooting at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun resort, in Cancun, Quintana Roo.
(Mike Sington/Handout via REUTERS )
“That can’t happen again,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said. “We have to avoid that happening. That’s why there’s this plan to reinforce security.”
Mexico has struggled to address the ongoing bloodshed as drug cartels continue to wage turf battles. López Obrador has criticized the pursuit of drug kingpins as a flawed strategy and has relied heavily on the military.
Members of the National Guard walk by the entrance of a hotel after two suspected drug gang members were shot dead in a beachfront clash between rival groups near the Mexican resort of Cancun, in Puerto Morelos, Mexico Nov. 4, 2021. Mexico will deploy a battalion of National Guard troops to its Mayan Riviera in the wake of a spate of shootings that have put the crown jewel of the country’s tourism industry on edge, officials said Wednesdsay.
The shootings led to questions about whether Americans should reconsider travel to Mexico’s tourist areas, which were considered a safe haven for travelers looking to avoid more dangerous parts of the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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