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American Tourist Arrested At Cancun Airport For Carrying A Firearm 

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Mexico has strict laws about who can possess a firearm, but time and time again, those laws have been broken by tourists visiting the country.  The most recent incident in the Mexican Caribbean region of the country, a popular vacation destination for travelers from the U.S., involved an American tourist.  The man was arrested by the National Guard at Cancun International Airport for carrying a firearm into the country.  

Police outside of  Cancun International Airport parked with other cars in front of a building.

The official crime that a man only named as “Elijah Q” in reports was charged with is the commission of “crimes of carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Armed Forces.”  The American tourist was arrested when his bags were checked at the airport, and security officials found a 9-millimeter pistol and a magazine with 12 unspent cartridges.  He had just arrived at Cancun International Airport on a flight originating from the United States, but reports do not specify which city he departed from. 

Tourists at Cancun Airport going up and down escalators with luggage.

Under federal law in Mexico, foreigners, unless they are legal residents in Mexico as well, are not allowed to own a firearm.  Breaking this law can mean facing some pretty stiff penalties, including being arrested and imprisoned.  Violators can get up to a five-year sentence in a Mexican prison just for having one weapon or even just one bullet if they are unauthorized to possess these items. 

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Man Going Through Security in Cancun with a woman checking a monitor.

Earlier this year, in October, another American was arrested at Cancun International Airport, and he didn’t even have a gun.  The man, Pat Bollig from Wichita, Kansas, had allegedly forgotten about bullets he had in his backpack when he and his wife were packing for their Cancun vacation.  Mr. Bollig was arrested when he went to retrieve his luggage upon arriving in Cancun and subsequently taken to a Cancun prison, where was ordered to remain until at least October 14th of this year.  

Cancun Police Station with cars parked out front and along the street.

As an example of just how strict Mexican gun laws can be, it is also the case that if a tourist lies about having a firearm and doesn’t admit their guilt in possessing a firearm the penalties can be even worse.  Bail can be denied because that individual will be treated as an “arms smuggler” would be.  This is not a predicament any American tourist should want to put themselves in, as being imprisoned in a foreign country is a very complicated situation.   

A man going through Cancun International Airport security.

Despite the fact that carrying a gun into Cancun can lead to some very unpleasant outcomes, American citizens have been arrested multiple times just this year for doing exactly that.  In June, an American woman was arrested at the airport for having a gun and ammunition in her luggage.  And then, in July, a police officer from the United States was arrested when authorities found a firearm in his checked luggage.   

Airport security line at a Mexican airport with totes for people's belongings.

In fact, as of September, a total of 16 American tourists had already been arrested at Cancun International Airport for bringing weapons and/or ammunition into the country.  Only four people from other countries had been arrested for the crime, and some for carrying drugs as well, during the same timeframe.  These are crimes that Mexican authorities take very seriously. 

Airport security going through someone's bags while the passenger waits off to the side.

In the most recent case, the U.S. citizen was put in pretrial detention until he goes through the legal process. As strict as Mexico is on carrying firearms into the country, it isn’t inconceivable that this man may spend time in a Cancun prison.  This is surely not how he planned to end his vacation, and future Cancun tourists should think about leaving their firearms at home to avoid the same situation. 

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Dennis Mahood

Saturday 3rd of December 2022

Americans think they can do anything they want and they can get away with it. wrong.


Saturday 3rd of December 2022

Yankee trash. Lol . Stay home ! Cabrones