Beachcombers saw bootprints alongside seashells on Sunday in Cancún as Mexico‘s National Guard joined sunbathers oceanside to protect resort-goers from a rolling wave of cartel violence that has claimed the lives of at least two tourists.
A battalion of about 1,500 soldiers made their way into the Quintana Roo tourist towns of Isla Mujeres, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos and Tulum on Wednesday and began patrolling beaches and streets on Thursday.
Striking photos showed them armed and in fatigues under the hot sun, in stark contrast with scantily-clad sunbathers dressed down for the 82 degree weather.
The National Guard’s Tourist Security Battalion was introduced by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on November 17 following shootings that tarnished the region’s image, including the murders of two female tourists – one of whom lived in San Jose, California.
Two members of Mexico’s National Guard definitely weren’t flaunting their beach bodies in their tactical gear and body armor as they patrolled seaside, through a sea of beach blankets and sunbathing tourists on Sunday in Cancún’s hotel zone
A couple were seen eyeing the soldiers, who were sent to the beaches of Cancun in the wake of the cartel murders of two tourists
Two women chat to each other, while a guardsman in full fatigues patrols in the 82f heat
National Guard members can be seen taking a walk on the beach in Cancun on Sunday with the sun at their backs and automatic weapons in their hands
A battalion of about 1,500 soldiers made their way into the Quintana Roo tourist towns of Isla Mujeres, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos and Tulum on Wednesday and began patrolling beaches and streets on Thursday
Fun in the sun may be a bit safer for tourists since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador introduced Mexico’s National Guard Tourist Security Battalion on November 17 following the death of two tourists amid cartel crossfire
Anjali Ryot, of San Jose, California (left), was one of two women killed at a bar in Tulum, Mexico, in an incident sparked by rival drug dealers on October 19. The 25-year-old, who was born in India, was visiting the Mexican resort town for her birthday. 35-year-old German national Jennifer Henzold (right) was murdered at the La Malquerida bar in Tulum on October 20
‘It is too little, too late,’ said Robert Almonte, an expert on international criminal organizations, in a phone interview with DailyMail.com on Friday.
A team of 15 hired assassins murdered two rival drug dealers on a beach next to the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancún in Puerto Morelos on November 4. The broad daylight assault forced tourists and workers to seek refuge in the hotel before the armed gang escaped on speedboats.
An October 20 shootout between two gangs involved in a turf war claimed the lives of Anjali Ryoy, a 25-year-old Indian national who resided in California, and 35-year-old German national Jennifer Henzold, at the La Malquerida bar in Tulum. Two German men and a woman from the Netherlands were also wounded.
On June 11, a 30-year-old woman visiting from Kentucky was shot and wounded after assassins arrived at a Cancún beach on jet skis and killed two workers inside a gift shop.
The Mexican National Guardsmen certainly aren’t blending in their beach camouflage – but that’s the point. Officials hope that their presence in high-volume tourist destinations will keep tourists from death, injury or assault on their sunny vacations
A 30-year-old American woman vacationing from Kentucky was wounded June 11 at Playa Tortugas, a beach in Cancún, after two gunmen stepped off their jet skis and opened fire, killing two male workers outside a gift shop before escaping
‘Tourists have been getting killed or assaulted at the resorts for some time now and it wasn’t until lately that the president decided to create this special unit to specifically address the resort area,’ said Almonte, a former U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas and retired deputy chief with the El Paso Police Department.
At least 21,495 people had died as of September in violent incidents linked to criminal organizations, according to government data.
The state of Quintana Roo, which has a population of around 1.9 million people, reported a minor decrease in murders between January and September, registering 442 homicides compared with 463 in the same period last year.
At least 21,495 people had died as of September in violent incidents linked to criminal organizations, according to government data. Mexico’s National Guard Tourist Safety Battalion, two members of which are seen contrasted alongside a sandy tourist, was launched in attempt to keep that number in check
The killings have not deterred tourists from booking their vacation stays at resorts in the region, which attract nearly 20 million visitors a year
However, the killings have not deterred tourists from booking their vacation stays at resorts in the region, whose stunning beaches and warm waters attract nearly 20 million visitors a year.
Benito Juárez mayor Mara Lezama welcomed the deployment throughout Cancún and the neighboring cities.
‘It’s a great day, a historic day on the issue of preventing crime and security,’ she said, as quoted by Excelsior newspaper.
Almonte assured that the presence of the National Guard will help going forward, but it will not be enough stop the criminal organizations from operating and going after their rival targets.
‘The bottom line is these cartels are ruthless,’ Almonte said. ‘They are not going to let the presence of the national guardsmen deter them from executing their hit, from killing someone. And they’re not careful when they do that. So they’re spraying bullets and the result of that is innocent bystanders, tourists are killed.’