Law enforcement forces in Solidaridad Municipality are expanding their anti-narcotics operations in the popular Playa del Carmen tourist area. With the recent addition of highly-trained canines, the municipality is aiming to target criminal activity in the area. Organized crime groups and the resulting violent crime remain a major concern for residents and visitors, and several recent police operations have seized considerable amounts of illegal substances and weapons.
Police in Playa del Carmen have added new canine units in the fight against drugs, and are expanding their operations in the area to target other forms of crime. The move is part of the government’s enhanced security strategy, led by the municipal president Lili Campos. The specially trained canine unit is integrated into the Secretary for Public Security in the Solidaridad municipality, where Playa del Carmen is located. The popular tourist zone is a major target for organized crime groups that target tourists, local businesses, and residents.
The operation, which is set to continue over the summer, has already been highly successful in preventing the sale of illegal drugs and has led to several detentions. In the period spanning from March to May, local police have seized over 70 kg of narcotics mainly in tourist hotspots, including Playa del Carmen, as well as various local logistics companies. In the last three months, the specialized K9 units have uncovered 31 cases linked to individuals suspected of endangering public health. At least 12 people have already been detained thanks to the new units.
Whilst the operation mainly targets illegal narcotics, other prohibited items such as weapons, explosives, and missing people are also part of the major effort. Tourist hotspots such as Playa del Carmen are an attractive target for drug smugglers, who attempt to sell illicit material to visiting tourists. At the same time, areas prone to organized criminality are more likely to see violent incidents including shootings, armed robbery, or even kidnappings. Currently, the patrols mainly take place in the city’s main avenues and coastal areas.
Local authorities in Playa del Carmen and Quintana Roo have been on the alert due to increased crime in recent months. As the summer vacation season kicks off, the government wants to make the area as safe as possible for visitors. Earlier in May, state governor Carlos Joaquín requested the deployment of military personnel to boost security in the area, with more checkpoints around tourist areas.
As a result, Quintana Roo is seeing an increasing number of drug seizures as law enforcement tackles organized crime in the area. Last week, police officers in Benito Juárez carried out a major raid on a private property in which over 200 kg of marihuana was seized. Moreover, weapons and an armored vehicle were seized.
The enhanced fight against drugs in the area is a major step forward for local and regional authorities, who are improving coordination and joining efforts to tackle the issue. In Playa del Carmen, the canine unit has proven to be especially critical in detecting and tracing illegal substances as well as arms. The new Coordination Group for Building Peace and Security in Quintana Roo is the main body helping to organize action against organized crime and is composed of the Secretary for National Defence (SEDENA), the Secretary for Marines (SEMAR), and the National Guard as well as the Quintana Roo state police.
Lili Campos, the president of Solidaridad municipality, is committed to creating a safe city for residents and locals through the implementation of anti-drug operations. Local and state police agencies have been fine-tuning the war on drugs, implementing several innovative strategies, and authorities are betting on new specialized units to turn the tides in the fight against crime.
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