Mexico is deploying National Guard troops to high-end resorts in Cancun down to Tulum amid a spate of cartel shootings that have killed and injured tourists this year.
The Secretary of National Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, reported the creation of the Tourist Security Battalion of the National Guard that will deploy 1,500 Guardsmen "to ensure the tranquility of tourists," according to Yucatan Times.
The presence of military personnel in the state of Quintana Roo has steadily increased this year as multiple cartels are battling for control of the drug trade.
Weeks ago, cartel gunfire erupted on the beach of a high-end resort in Cancun. Dozens of shots rang out, and two rival cartel members were killed. In October, a cartel shootout killed two female foreign tourists and injured three others. Of the two women who were killed, one was from Germany and the other India.
This week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the chaos in Cancun "cannot be repeated." That is why the Tourist Security Battalion will have a permanent presence in the tourist mecca to prevent cartels from expanding operations.
"This battalion will provide security to the entire tourist area.
"As the year progresses we will provide it with the tools to do this job, the equipment to be able to attend this new mission and it will also be able to take this model that we will use here for the first time," Sandoval told the local media outlet.
We noted as early as April about "crisis in paradise" as cartels raced to secure the drug trade in Tulum as popular Instagram influencers and millennials flooded beaches, resorts, clubs, cenotes, and the Mayan ruins.
Tulum is undergoing a dangerous turf war among drug cartels. Six cartels operate in the area, including the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the Zetas Vieja Escuela (Old School Zetas), and the Sinaloa Cartel. Cartels are fighting for control because supplying party drugs to millennials on holiday is a lucrative business.
Mexico relies heavily on Americans going on holiday in the Quintana Roo area, and the deployment of permanent Guardsmen on Dec. 1 shows the country will do everything in its power to keep tourist spending their dollars.