(U.S. – DEA).- The destinations of the Mexican Caribbean are not only the tourist attraction par excellence of the country. Being favorite poles for tourists from all over the world, they become a potential market for drugs that accompany the festive atmosphere of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) have detected wanted criminals from at least 12 countries that are residing in Quintana Roo.
In 2020, through a report, the DEA detailed that the State became a “trans-shipment point” for drugs, whose final destination is the United States consumer market.
Danielle Dreyer, a special agent of the US corporation, who infiltrated the Sinaloa Cartel, explained that since 2018 drugs have arrived in Quintana Roo from Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela, which are later transferred to the neighboring country by land, air, or sea.
The report is part of the criminal proceeding against Mexicans Raymundo Montoya López, Abraham Alfonso García Montoya, and Felizardo Díaz Hernández, captured in September 2020 off the coast of Quintana Roo, when on board a boat they intended to transport about three tons of drugs to the United States.
The DEA highlighted that the criminal activity was registered in Chetumal, however, it has also spread to other states of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Campeche, where it was possible to verify the links that large businesses have with Colombian companies and Central American people to build dozens of clandestine tracks.
Russian Mafia and Eastern countries
For its part, in 2007, Interpol warned about the operation of the Russian Mafia in Cancun, under the modality of organized crime, as they planned large smuggling of drugs, diamonds, weapons and the theft of vehicles to be sent to Spain, Italy, and Portugal, through various ports in Quintana Roo, especially on the island of Cozumel.
The report, carried out by the ROCCISS (Regional Organized Counter-Crime Information Sharing System), revealed that there are five organizations based in the Riviera Maya, including: Solntsevskaya, which is Ukrainian, and from Chechnya, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, and Romania, including from Albania, identified as Tambosvkaya, Poldolskaya, Mazukinskaya and Izamailovskaya, linked to the main transnational organization known as Vory V Zakone (Thieves of the Law).
Interpol, like the DEA, assured that these criminal groups seek to establish a bridge for drug trafficking, illegal arms trade, money laundering, and human trafficking to the United States and control local prostitution and kidnapping.
Italians have been operating in the Riviera Maya for 22 years
In 2021, another international investigation entitled “Why are tourist resorts attractive for transnational crime? The case of the Riviera Maya”, details that the Italian mafia has been operating in this region of Mexico for 22 years and has managed to go unnoticed thanks to the fact that its members pretend to be businessmen.
After Cancun became the jewel in the tourist crown in 1997, the Italian Mafia saw the destination as an opportunity to start operations in Mexico, especially to move drugs from the Mexican Caribbean to the United States and Latin America.
The Italian mafia began with three leaders, Oreste Pagano, Vincezo Salzano, and Iván Fornari, who arrived at the tourist destination as real estate agents, installed in both Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and although two of them have already been captured, their operations in the region are still active as they were made from various companies, properties, and gyms.
Romanians established in Cancun
In 2019 Florian Tudor and Adrián Nicolaé Cosmín were arrested after the Secretary of the Navy (Semar) detected drug traffickers who were moving along the route of the cenotes with weapons and acquiring large extensions of ejidal land.
Tudor and Cosmín had contact with the mafias of China, India, and Indonesia, through which funds stolen from foreign tourists were moved through the cloning of cards.
They were shareholders of an ATM company called Intacash, which they were able to install in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum and served as an alibi for card cloning.
Although they were apprehended, after searching their properties and businesses, they were released and they were only given a precautionary measure to show up to sign every 15 days.
In 2021, a federal judge issued justified preventive detention against the Romanians for carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Mexican Army, Navy, and Air Force, in addition to improperly carrying out more than 5,500 irregular cash disposal operations in Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Mexico City, State of Mexico and Hidalgo.
Mexican Caribbean: the war between two cartels alarms hoteliers
A confrontation between the Los Pelones and Los Compich criminal groups, dedicated to drug dealing in the area and linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Nueva Generación, was the background to the shooting on November 4 at the Hyatt Ziva hotel in Cancún, Quintana Roo.
The Mayo Zambada organization has also become one of the most powerful, feared, and fast-growing criminal groups in the Caribbean. “The investigations lead to the fact that they may be cells of the Sinaloa Cartel that are disputing the territory among themselves,” said the governor of the entity, Carlos Joaquín González.
The Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres, faced with this scenario, made an energetic and firm call to the authorities of the Municipal, State, and Federal Government, so that with firm and forceful actions, they give priority attention to the problem of insecurity, that day by day is being lived in the tourist destinations of the state of Quintana Roo.
Roberto Cintrón, president of the hoteliers of Cancún, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres, pointed out that with situations such as those that occurred in Puerto Morelos, on the beach where the Hyatt Ziva is located in Bahía Petempich, just 35 kilometers south of Cancún, where, as we published in REPORTUR.mx, apparently 15 hooded men with firearms arrived, who killed a couple of subjects supposedly belonging to rival drug gangs, in the middle of tourists, slightly injuring one of them with a bullet fragment, and putting at risk the life and physical integrity of those who were there. ( Reputational blow to Cancun with an injured tourist at the Hyatt), tourism and economic recovery depend on a thread.
He stressed that conflicts or quarrels have become a constant as he also recalled the conflict that took place in Tulum in a restaurant, where unfortunately two tourists lost their lives and three more were injured by firearm projectiles.
Cintrón emphasized that these armed encounters in which outsiders have unfortunately been involved, have been a consequence of the fierce and ruthless struggle that is taking place in the destination between criminal gangs dedicated to the sale and distribution of drugs on the beaches and that in the In recent months, it has been fought with greater intensity for the control of “the squares”, of the most emblematic tourist destinations in the country and in all of Latin America, which are the engines of Mexico’s economic reactivation.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, the cunning murder of two tourists lulled Mexico’s tourism sector into mourning, turning on alerts once again due to the increasing audacity of organized crime groups that today carry out their sale with impunity anywhere. public and at any time of the day without caring about the lives of those around them that may be affected,” said Cintrón.
Adding that today with deep sadness and absolute consternation, they see that the violence continues to escalate, infringing on the community mistrust and fear for the risk that tourists, collaborators, families and the population in general run.
Due to the above, the hoteliers ratify that “it is necessary once again to insist that the insecurity and physical integrity of our visitors, collaborators and population, is the first argument and obligation that must be offered without it being necessary to proclaim it to promote our destinations.”