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FBI and DEA in Cancun to Help Protect Tourists From Organized Crime

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Security Summit In Response To Events At The Hotel Xcaret

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are sending personnel to Cancun to work with the Quintana Roo government to help protect tourists from organized crime. The Mounted Police from Canada will also be attending. A security summit will take place on the 18th of February involving members of all parties.

national guard

The cooperation has been prompted by recent violent incidents that have taken place across Quintana Roo’s tourist hotspots. The most recent event at the Hotel Xcaret grabbed headlines globally and drew the attention of both the Canadian and American security services.

Two men were executed in broad daylight in the middle of the resort, shocking the world and traumatizing guests in the vicinity. As more information became clear, the two deceased men were highly involved with a Canadian-Vietnamese crime syndicate. The Canadian government had placed a reward on any information that could lead to one of the men’s arrest as he was wanted for laundering millions of dollars as well as weapons and drugs.

fbi headquarters

It should be noted that none of the foreign agencies will be officially working in the state as far as current information suggests. Friday’s summit is designed as a means to share information, trends, and potential threats that each side possesses that could be beneficial to the others.

The meeting was organized by the Quintana Roo Governor in the wake of the Xcaret shootings. When information surfaced that the killings were planned in Canada by personnel known to the Canadian government, he reached out in the hope of sharing intel.

hotel xcaret

Carlos Joaquin stated that the purpose of their arrival is to “work with us in matters of review, exchange of information and improvement to avoid situations such as the Xcaret Hotel, which goes far beyond the information that we can have in terms of intelligence because these are groups that do not operate in this place. There will be the Canadian Mounted Police, the DEA, and the FBI.”

The summit is part of a larger push for Cancun and Quintana Roo as a whole to improve their reputation as globally renowned tourist destinations. Millions of visitors have flooded to the Mexican Caribbean despite the problems, but if Cancun wants to hang on to its newfound market avoiding any potential risks will be paramount.

national guard beach

Statistically, Cancun is still extremely safe for tourists but many potential visitors have justifiable reservations when more shocking situations come to light. The prevalence of organized crime in the nearby areas makes for worrying reading when viewed out of context, and the rare instances where tourists are hurt or worse tend to make global headlines.

With the opportunities growing for the city and state, building its security influence will continue to be a priority for the government. It could be the difference between Cancun remaining at the top of the world rankings or tumbling down as other traditionally “safer” destinations open back up. 

cancun at night

Safer in this sense will always be in context. Similar European spots in Spain and Greece have very high rates of petty crime as well as assaults and sexual assault, especially in comparison to Cancun. But organized crime strikes a different kind of worry into tourists’ decision-making process, regardless of the statistical likelihood of it actually happening.

beach soldiers

But steps are being made to help make the experience even safer, not least the summit. Back in November, the Mexican government instated a new branch of the National Guard named the Tourist security battalion. The 1500 soldiers are deployed across Quintana Roo and make regular patrols throughout the main tourist spots to help discourage any violent escalations between gangs.

What will come from the security summit remains to be seen, and there is a fair chance new information will not be made public, but it has the potential to provide some stability and added reassurance to Cancun as it moves forward.

xcaret hotel

The pandemic appears to be in its final throws as many countries across the world relax their restrictions, and Cancun may go back to the green level on Thursday. Those hoping to travel to Cancun should keep on top of any restriction changes both in Mexico and their home country as they are dynamic and subject to change quickly.

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