April 4, 2023 | 21:28
The murders of four men found dead near a beachside resort in Cancun on Monday are likely related to rivalries between drug gangs in the area, authorities said Tuesday.
Quintana Roo authorities said notorious gang leader Héctor Flores Aceves, known as “Pantera,” was involved in the murders and they are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
The four bodies were discovered near the beach in Cancun’s hotel zone as the city braces for a flood of tourists traveling to Mexico on Easter week, one of the busiest times of the year.
Law enforcement officials have not revealed a motive for the killings, however, rival gangs have been known to compete for exclusive tourist areas, seeking to be the only drug dealers for tourists in vacation spots.
Two suspects were detained for the slayings, authorities said, while Flores Aceves remains at large.
Quintana Roo police offered the same $50,000 reward for the arrest of Flores Aceves nearly a year ago when he was wanted for a series of attacks and murders in Cancun bars.
He and a rival were wanted for shootings at two bars on May 6, 2022. Two people were killed and eight wounded during the shooting.
The men, both members of the Sinaloa cartel that splintered into separate gangs, were “trying to control what they call ‘the market’ to carry out their criminal activities,” the Quintana Roo police chief said at the time.
The gangs were involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extorting “protection money” from business owners whom they threatened to kill or harm if they were not paid.
The massacres on Monday came days after a US citizen visiting the nearby town of Puerto Morelos was shot in the leg. It is unclear why the tourist was shot.
Last month, the US State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans to “use extra caution” if traveling to Mexico’s bustling beach resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, where gang violence drug gangs has spread in the past.
Last year, two Canadians were killed in Playa del Carmen, reportedly over debts between international drug and arms trafficking gangs.
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