Cancun airport is busy enough already, with plenty of chaos due to the number of incoming and outgoing flights every day, and recently a passenger added to that chaotic atmosphere when she was arrested for bringing a gun in her luggage. The American woman was caught carrying a 9-millimeter handgun and a stocked magazine filled with six unspent cartridges. The gun and ammunition were found during a luggage inspection by the National Guard and the woman was subsequently arrested.
Gun laws in Mexico are very strict and American citizens are certainly not allowed to carry firearms, especially when traveling by air. In the U.S. American citizens are allowed to fly with an unloaded firearm in their checked baggage if it is locked up and cannot be accessed. Authorities did not say whether or not the handgun was locked up, but in Mexico, it is illegal to possess a firearm either way.
The woman, who goes by the name of Sameka H., was immediately detained by National Guard agents and brought before a Federal Control Judge on Monday, who ordered her to be imprisoned. Sameka H. will be held at the Center for Social Reintegration in Cancun for a period of one month. This will allow authorities the time needed to complete and close their investigation into the matter.
More than 500 arriving and departing flights pass through Cancun International Airport almost every day. Many of these flights are starting or ending in international locations, particularly in the United States, where the majority of international visitors originate from. Often, because Cancun is such a busy airport, travelers will experience long wait times for checking in and when something like this happens it exacerbates the problem.
Back in March, there was chaos at Cancun International Airport when travelers had thought they heard a gun but it was later found out that it was a sign falling that made the noise. The incident caused panic among tourists who were waiting at the airport to travel and loved ones at home who heard about the situation on the news. Authorities quickly investigated and reported that there were multiple signs that were knocked down, causing noises that sounded like multiple gunshots.
In Mexico, it is even difficult for citizens to legally obtain firearms, with the right to carry being reserved pretty much only for home protection, hunting, and of course for police officers and military agents. There is gun crime committed by criminals that get their hands on guns, but those are usually illegally obtained. Guards can also be found carrying guns when patrolling the Cancun Hotel Zone or the beaches, but this is generally the only time people will be seen carrying firearms in Mexico.
During the busy months earlier in the year, hundreds of military personnel were utilized by the government to protect tourists and residents in Cancun. Now, as another busy season starts, even more federal agents from the Navy, the National Guard, and the Ministry of National Defense have been deployed to keep people in Cancun safe. This time more than 800 federal agents in total have arrived in the city, some of which will be employed permanently.
Sameka H. is now waiting to find out what the consequences will be for carrying a weapon into Mexico while being detained for the next few weeks. It is a stark reminder that tourists have to remember and respect the different rules that may be enforced in other countries. In Cancun, authorities are making it very clear that this will not be tolerated, especially at an already very busy and chaotic airport.
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