By MARK LORENZANA
A shootout on Saturday, July 23, in the Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, has left at least three people injured, according to local reports.
Surveillance cameras at a hotel captured the moment of the shooting, which caused tourists traversing Fifth Avenue — a popular street in Playa del Carmen filled with souvenir shops, restaurants and bars — to run for cover. The video clip of the incident has since been shared online and on social media platforms.
The Playa del Carmen Public Security Secretariat reported on Sunday, July 24, that seven suspects have been arrested. Seized from the suspects were three firearms, as well as 31 bags of narcotics.
According to eyewitness accounts, the gunmen shot three people on Fifth Avenue around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and quickly fled the scene.
Elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and Mexico’s National Guard (GN), however, were able to nab the seven suspects, who were identified as originating from different parts of Mexico, namely, Tamaulipas, Quintana Roo, Guanajuato, Tabasco and Chiapas.
Federal and local authorities have warned tourists that there is a current turf dispute in Playa del Carmen between the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels, as well as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, over the sale of drugs.
In January of this year, two Canadian tourists were shot dead inside the Hotel Xcaret Mexico, also in Playa del Carmen. Five months later, in June, two other Canadians were knifed to death — one of whom was sought by Interpol on fraud charges — by unknown assailants in a Playa del Carmen beach resort.
In November of last year, a shoot-out between rival cartel members on the beach of Puerto Morelos, just north of Playa del Carmen, left two suspected drug dealers dead. Local authorities said that 15 gunmen who were involved in the shooting were disputing control of drug sales there.