Two nightclubs in the popular resort destination Playa del Carmen were shut down by local police on Saturday night after uncovering hidden weapons in the establishments. The firearms were found during surprise raids, and authorities have launched an investigation into the case. The news comes as the state of Quintana Roo continues to successfully fight organized crime and drug trafficking in the Mexican Caribbean.
Local police have temporarily closed two popular nightclubs near Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue after finding weapons in two separate bars during a surprise inspection by local officials. The firearms are thought to belong to local organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking, although no information has been published on the suspects.
The surprise inspections were carried out by several law enforcement agencies, including local police and specialized drug units, who were accompanied by sniffer dogs.
In the first operation, which took place on Saturday night, law enforcement personnel uncovered a pistol in Bar Loco, a popular local pub in downtown Playa del Carmen. After thoroughly inspecting the establishment, police officers found an abandoned firearm as well as 7 cartridges in the bar’s bathroom, which were confiscated for further investigations by Mexico’s General Attorney. Officers then proceeded to corner off the establishment for safety reasons while the investigation was underway.
Later on, a second raid took place in a Mandala, a popular nightclub in Playa del Carmen’s downtown area on Calle 12, uncovering another concealed firearm. In this case, officials, who were accompanied by sniffer dogs, found a pistol with 17 cartridges hidden in a trash can. Police officers also detained three people for improper behavior, although they aren’t suspects in the case.
Mandala is a favorite for party-goers in Playa del Carmen. The closing of the nightclub may come to many as a surprise, and despite its popularity as one of the best nightclubs in the area, it is not immune to the dangers of criminal activity.
Playa del Carmen has stepped up anti-drug efforts in recent months, with the National Guard and members of the Mexican Army deployed in the region over the summer to protect tourists. Police officers regularly patrol the nightlife district in Playa del Carmen to check for any illegal activities, and to ensure that they abide by regulations regarding opening hours.
Although no injuries were reported during the raids, the incident is an important reminder of the risks posed by organized crime groups. Nightclubs are a popular pastime for many visitors, and by the same token, are a haven for the selling and trafficking of illicit substances. Earlier this year, Mexican authorities launched a new campaign to warn visitors about the legal consequences of drug use, which carry harsh penalties, including fines and even imprisonment.
The nightclubs are located in the vicinity of Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), Playa del Carmen’s main street, and a tourism hotspot. The city has undertaken efforts to clean up the street, improving its walkability and safety for tourists. During the daytime, Playa del Carmen is abuzz with culture and commerce, but at night, it turns into a party town, with an abundance of bars and nightclubs.
The Mexican Caribbean remains a safe place for tourists. However, visitors are more likely to encounter risky situations at night, especially at nightclubs. Drug trafficking remains a significant issue, and several violent incidents have been reported recently in the region. Nightclubs in Cancun’s hotel zone have also seen their fair share of criminal activity and police arrests. Earlier this year, local police searched 24K Nightclub in Cancun after a partygoer suffered injuries and burns after being attacked by strangers.
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