A battalion of around 1,500 National Guard members began patrolling the resort town of Cancun following an upsurge in cartel violence where at least two tourists were killed after being caught in crossfire.
The elite force entered the municipalities of Quintana Roo, Benito Juárez, Isla Mujeres, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos and Tulum on Wednesday.
Thursday morning, they carried out their first patrols on beaches and streets that have been the scene of senseless killings.
“It’s too little, too late,” said Robert Almonte, an expert on international criminal organizations, in a telephone interview with DailyMail.com on Friday.
The National Guard Tourist Security Battalion was presented by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on November 17 following shootings that tarnished the image of the region, including the killings of two female tourists – one of whom lived in San Jose, California.
On Thursday, a member of an elite National Guard force guards a beach in Cancun. At least 1,500 National Guardsmen have started patrolling the beaches and streets of the resort town of Cancun and others in the area to tackle drug gang violence
Anjali Ryot, of San José, Calif., Was one of two women killed at a bar in Tulum, Mexico, in an incident sparked off by rival drug traffickers on October 19. The 25-year-old, born in India, was visiting the Mexican resort for her birthday
35-year-old German national Jennifer Henzold was murdered at La Malquerida bar in Tulum on October 20
A team of 15 hitmen murdered two rival drug dealers on a beach next to the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos on November 4.
An October 20 shooting between two gangs involved in a territorial war claimed the lives of Anjali Ryoy, a 25-year-old Indian national residing in California, and 35-year-old German national Jennifer Henzold, at the La Malquerida bar in Tulum. . Two Germans and a Dutchwoman were also injured.
On June 11, a 30-year-old woman from Kentucky was shot and wounded after assassins arrived at a Cancun beach on a jet ski and killed two workers in a gift shop.
“Tourists have been killed or assaulted at resorts for quite some time now and it was only recently that the president decided to create this special unit to deal specifically with the resort area,” said Almonte, a former United States Marshal for the Western District. of Texas and retired deputy chief of the El Paso Police Department.
Visitors are surrounded by members of the Mexican National Guard on the beach in Cancun Thursday, the first day of a permanent deployment of 1,500 elite force National Guardsmen to resorts in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
At least 21,495 people had died in September in violent incidents linked to criminal organizations, according to government data.
Quintana Roo state reported a slight decrease in killings between January and September, recording 442 homicides compared to 463 during the same period last year.
Beachgoers enjoy a day on the sands in Cancun as a National Guard protects the area from rival gangs. Texas-based security consultant Robert Almonte told DailyMail.com on Friday that “it’s too little, too late.” Tourists have been killed or assaulted in seaside resorts for some time now and it is only recently that (the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador) decided to create this special unit to deal specifically with the area of resort.
Nearly 1,500 National Guardsmen are part of an elite force to protect tourists and residents of the resorts in the state of Quintana Roo. The group was formed on November 17 following a series of incidents involving rival gangs that killed two drug traffickers on a beach next to a hotel in Puerto Morelos as well as two foreign visitors. killed in a bar in Tulum.
Members of the National Guard’s new tourist security battalion patrol a beach in Cancun on Thursday
A 30-year-old American vacationing in Kentucky was injured on June 11 at Playa Tortugas, a beach in Cancun, after two gunmen got off their jet skis and opened fire, killing two workers outside a gifts before escaping
However, the killings have not dissuaded tourists from booking their vacation stays at the resorts in the region, which attract nearly 20 million visitors a year.
The mayor of Benito Juárez, Mara Lezama, hailed the deployment in Cancún and neighboring towns.
“This is a great day, a historic day on the issue of crime prevention and security,” she said, quoted by the newspaper Excelsior.
Almost assured that the National Guard’s presence will help move forward, but that will not be enough to prevent criminal organizations from operating and pursuing rival targets.
“At the end of the day, these cartels are ruthless,” Almonte said. “They will not let the presence of the National Guards dissuade them from carrying out their coup, from killing someone. And they don’t care when they do that. So they throw bullets and the result is that innocent passers-by, tourists are killed.