MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two foreigners were killed and three wounded in a shooting at a restaurant in the Mexican Caribbean resort town of Tulum, authorities said Thursday.
Authorities said one of the dead women was from Germany and the other from India. The three wounded included two Germans and a tourist from the Netherlands.
The shooting broke out Wednesday night at a street-side eatery that has some outdoor tables, right off Tulum’s main strip.
The fight was between two groups that operate street-level drug sales in the area, the Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The tourists were apparently dining at the restaurant and may have been caught in the crossfire.
One woman died at the scene and the other in a hospital. One of the aggressors, who was also wounded, was subsequently arrested. There was no immediate word on the condition of the wounded tourists.
Tulum has experienced growing pains moving from laid back beach retreat to major international destination. It had long been spared the violence seen sporadically in larger Cancun and Playa del Carmen farther up the coast.
But in June, two men were shot to death on the beach in Tulum and a third was wounded.
The administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has pinned its hopes on Tulum, where it has announced plans to build an international airport and a stop for the Maya train, which will run in a loop around the Yucatan peninsula.
But Quintana Roo state, where beach resorts like Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun are located, has been plagued by both violence and corruption.
In 2019, authorities said a dispute over street-level drug dealing was also the apparent motive behind a bar shooting that left seven men dead in the nearby resort of Playa del Carmen.
In a scene similar to the Tulum attack, two gunmen armed with .38 caliber pistols burst into a nightclub in the 2019 attack and opened fire on their rivals.
Several drug cartels operate in the state, which is known for a lucrative retail drug market and as a landing spot for drug shipments.
But corruption has also been a problem, and on Thursday federal health authorities said they were removing state officials from their duties in inspecting medical facilities, after it emerged that state inspectors had been shaking down firms that run COVID-19 testing sites and labs for bribes.
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