Mexican beach destination Playa del Carmen sees second deadly shooting in a week

Authorities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo are investigating the shooting death of a man who worked as the manager at a popular beachfront bar, the second fatal attack within a week in the resort town of Playa del Carmen.

The Tuesday killing at Mamita’s Beach Club followed an assault the previous Friday on three Canadians at a resort less than six miles away. Officials have said last week’s shooting at the Hotel Xcaret was the result of an argument between guests, and that the Canadians who died both had criminal records.

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In the most recent slaying, multiple media reports identified the victim as Mamita’s manager Federico Mazzoni, a native of Argentina. He was reportedly discovered in a bathroom, according to local news accounts.

The attorney general’s office in the state of Quintana Roo wrote in a tweet Tuesday evening that it was investigating the homicide of a restaurant employee in the municipality of Solidaridad and had sent agents to collect evidence and do interviews at the scene. The tweet did not identify the business or the victim.

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On Wednesday, Quintana Roo’s secretary of security wrote in a tweet that helicopter patrols were continuing to search for suspects in the killing.

Mamita’s, which rents out pool and beach chairs and boasts live DJ sets, is situated on the Caribbean Sea in an area surrounded by restaurants, resorts and bars. On social media, the club shows pictures of smiling patrons in swimsuits, peaceful beaches and tropical drinks – a far cry from the news images of police on the shore after the shooting.

Tourist destinations in the Riviera Maya region, including Playa del Carmen and Cancún, have been trying to combat news of violence for months, after several shootings in popular areas since the fall. In November, tourists south of Cancún ran into resorts for safety after gunmen shot at each other on the beach. Two men died in the incident, a clash between gang members over drug territory, authorities said.

Experts told The Washington Post late last year that the violence is spilling out of disputes over drug trafficking.

“Where tourism increases, so does the drug trade,” Kenneth Bombace, chief executive of Global Threat Solutions, which offers travel protection services, told The Post. “Where you have a growing population, you’re going to have these problems down there . . . and people are getting caught in the crossfire.”

The U.S. State Department says travelers should reconsider going to Mexico because of the coronavirus, and it advises those visiting Quintana Roo to “exercise increased caution” because of crime. The U.S. Consulate General in Merida reiterated that advice Tuesday in a security alert issued “in light of recent security incidents and criminal activity in popular tourist destinations” including Cancún and Playa del Carmen.

“Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state, including areas frequented by U.S. citizen visitors,” the alert said.

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