Local Mayor Targeted But SurvivesBy Lic. Edward V. Byrne View Edward V. Byrne's profile
For the second time in five days, armed gunmen have launched an attack against a public official in Quintana Roo, a major tourist state on Mexico’s “Gold Coast” which is home to the famed Riviera Maya resort area.
The mayor of the community of Solidaridad, Filiberto Martínez Méndez, survived last night’s gun battle, which occurred about 9:45 p.m. as he was in route to Cancún from Playa del Carmen. The mayor was travelling in a two vehicle convoy with five soldier escorts for protection. Although the assailants escaped and could not be identified, they are presumed to be drug cartel enforcers.
The events unfolded on the main road leading from Cancún International Airport to the city proper.
Early Friday morning (Sept. 9), Tourist Police Chief Mario Gómez Frías was executed at close range while on patrol in Playa del Carmen. A second officer with him was shot four times but survived.
In recent months Quintana Roo state has experienced increasing levels of drug related violence. Police in Playa del Carmen said last week that they began receiving threats after four drug dealers were arrested in the tourist zone. Playa’s municipal president, Martínez Méndez, has acknowledged that the community is confronting security issues.
State prosecutors in Quintana Roo have opened a formal investigation.
Mexican authorities say the feared cartel Los Zetas controls most organized crime activities in Cancun and Quintana Roo state. The Zetas (Z’s) are composed for the most part of former Mexican soldiers. They are highly trained in firearms use and urban combat, and are known for their particularly ruthless attacks on police, civilians and other drug cartel members.