Is tourist drug demand fueling cartel violence in Mexico’s top destinations?

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The Washington Post (January 2, 2022) The trouble began, as it often does here when tourists asked the hotel staff to help them buy cocaine.

It’s a common enough request across Mexico’s Mayan Riviera that the employees of the Hyatt Ziva knew how to accommodate their clientele. They called a few local drug dealers, according to security officials who investigated the incident.

But the dealers who arrived at the beachside resort outside Cancún last month came from rival cartels, part of the kaleidoscope of criminal groups who have converged on Mexico’s busiest tourist corridor. Within minutes, shooting began. Security footage shows the attackers sprinting from the beach toward the $400-a-night hotel, and tourists in bathing suits seeking cover in hallways.

“It was more proof that the only reason the cartels are here is because of the enormous demand for drugs, especially among tourists,” said Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, the security chief for Mexico’s Quintana Roo state. “It’s a very difficult thing to stop.”


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