Cartel crime has been increasing in tourist areas of Cancun and Tulum. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the vacation hotspots have seen a “massive uptick” in cartel violence because they have become key revenue sources for the cartels to sell drugs.
The homicide rate has nearly quadrupled since 2016 due to drugs. “Our basic problem is drug demand by tourists” said Quintana Roo Attorney General Oscar Montes de Oca.
David Ortiz Mena, the head of the Tulum Hotel Association, said “We have to be careful what kind of tourism we ask for” reports the WSJ. “The kind of tourism we fostered creates drug demand, and where there is demand there will be supply. But the drug dealers don’t leave when the party’s over and the tourists go home.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation compiled a list of recent incidents demonstrating the new norm of violence:
In March, tourists in Cancun’s hotel zone found human remains that police said could be casualties of cartel crime. That same month, a British citizen, who lived in the area and was warned of being a target, was shot and killed by two men on a motorcycle while driving with his teenage daughter in the passenger seat, The Daily Beast reported…
…The manager of a bar on the beach in Quintana Roo was shot and killed in January, The Washington Post reported. Days before the incident, two Canadians were killed at a resort a few miles away as a result of an argument between guests.
Suspected rival cartel members engaged in a shootout near Cancun in November, sending beachgoers running to nearby resorts for safety, the Associated Press reported. Two drug dealers were killed in the incident, according to the WSJ.
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‘One Pill Kills’: 15-year-old dies from one pill laced with fentanyl; purchased from classmate
Just one pill killed 15-year-old Melanie Ramos at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood. Friends and family say Ramos, to their knowledge, did not use drugs, but was killed by taking just one pill of a drug containing a deadly dose of fentanyl before her body was discovered in the school bathroom.
Ramos and a friend are believed to have purchased the plus from another 15-year-old male student at the school who has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
In addition to the 15-year-old suspect, a 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of narcotics sales for allegedly selling pills at nearby Lexington Park on Tuesday to a third student, a 17-year-old boy from Hollywood High School. The identities of the arrested boys were not released because they are minors. They are students at Apex Academy, a charter school on the Bernstein campus.
Police said there was a fourth student who overdosed at the park, but her identity is not known.
In the aftermath, top city leaders — Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore and schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho — have pledged urgent action as on-the-ground law-enforcement officials bluntly described the massive and dangerous influx of drugs.
“One pill kills,” said LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza, who oversees the gang and narcotics division, adding that the term “fentanyl-laced” is a weak misnomer. “It is straight up fentanyl. It is not laced with fentanyl… We recovered hundreds, if not thousands, of pills a day; 10,000 pills every other day isn’t unusual” for drugs that are cheap to make and transport and “pushed hard by drug dealers and the cartels.”
“Tell your children: You can’t tell if drugs contain fentanyl by look, taste, smell or touch,” Garcetti said. “A dealer may be a friend or so-called friend or classmate. They might not even know what substance they’re providing.”
Moore pledged swift justice up the distribution chain. “These were students selling to students,” Moore said, “and we’re looking for the people who are using them solely for their access to this campus.” He said that public awareness — leading to prevention — is the best strategy, but that it also would help to put school police on campus.
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