MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico will deploy a battalion of National Guard troops to its Mayan Riviera in the wake of a spate of shootings that have put the crown jewel of the country’s tourism industry on edge.
Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval, speaking Wednesday in Cancun, said that 1,445 guard members will be sent to Quintana Roo state’s Caribbean coast to reinforce the region’s security. The deployment will include the establishment of a base in the beach town of Tulum, where two foreign tourists were killed and three wounded Oct. 20 in the crossfire between drug dealers.
He said the Navy would contribute an additional 100 elements to the effort and increase intelligence gathering efforts in the area.
The additional security will begin operations by Dec. 1, Sandoval said.
The more recent incident was a Nov. 4 shootout on a beach in Puerto Morelos south of Cancun, involving a squad of armed men who left two alleged drug dealers dead. The daytime bloodshed sent tourists scrambling for cover at two large hotels where local drug gangs were apparently competing for drug sales.