MEXICO CITY – A San Jose, California woman, born in India, was one of two foreign tourists killed in the apparent crossfire of a drug-gang shootout at Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort Tulum.
in officers Quintana Roo, the state where Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun are located, Anjali Ryot was one of the dead women.
An Instagram account of the same name posted a post two days ago of Rayot laughing and smiling at the seaside pier in Tulum. it listed him as a travel blogger From Himachal, India, living in California. A linked Facebook page said she lived in San Jose.
A German woman killed has been identified as Jennifer Heinzold, although no hometown was immediately available for her.
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Three other foreign tourists were injured late on Wednesday in a shooting at a roadside eatery, which has some outdoor tables, right in front of Tulum’s main strip. These include two German men and one Dutch woman.
The German Foreign Office issued a travel advisory about the violence, advising its citizens “not to leave your secure hotel facilities if you are currently in the Tulum or Playa del Carmen area.”
According to prosecutors, a shootout apparently took place between two groups operating street-level drug sales in the area. The tourists were apparently eating at the restaurant and may have been caught in the crossfire.
The shooting took place on Tulum’s ‘mini-quinta’, which refers to the large, charming bar and restaurant area of Playa del Carmen known as Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue.
On Friday, Tulum’s civic group Citizens Observatorio posted photos of hand-written signs that appeared at a local market in Tulum, signed by a drug gang known as Los Pelons, largely But there were “shaved heads”.
The sign said the shooting was “a warning, so you can see we mean business,” “you either get in line or we’ll continue to close down places like Mini Quinta,” “extortionate to safety.” A clear warning to pay demand money.
“We are in control here,” the sign added.
Part of the Gulf Cartel, the gang has long raised security funding from bars and nightclubs in Cancun, but have now apparently extended operations south to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The gang is also fighting the Jalisco Cartel and other groups for the region’s lucrative drug market.
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The killings jeopardized Tulum’s reputation as a low-key carefree beach town without the crowds and problems of Cancun.
After the shooting, American tourist James Graham said he came to Tulum with the idea of possibly buying a property to rent on Airbnb. “Right now, we’re not so sure we’re going to buy anything here,” Graham said.
Graham said, “I think what was surprising, was we thought that this type of crime didn’t necessarily have to be the main tourism sector, just because it’s such a big part of the economy.” “You would think that you would be very careful to make sure that you know that tourists feel very safe coming here.”
But there have been indications that the situation had spiraled out of control months ago. In June, two people were shot dead on the beach in Tulum and a third was injured.
And in nearby Playa del Carmen, police conducted a massive raid on the beach town’s restaurant-lined Quinta Avenida on Thursday, detaining 26 suspects – most apparently for drug sales – A city policeman was shot dead and locked in the trunk of a car for the last time. Week. Prosecutors said Friday they arrested a suspect in that murder.
The crime has “increased slightly, along with extortion, drug sales to foreigners and Mexicans,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement about the raid.
President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s administration has pinned its hopes on Tulum, where it has announced plans to build an international airport and a stop for the Maya train, which will run in a loop around the Yucatán peninsula.