Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why a Mexican Cartel targeted the Mayan Riviera

Criminal organizations have traditionally considered the Cancun-Tulum corridor as neutral ground. On January 16th a gunman opened fire inside a nightclub in Playa del Carmen. Five people died in the attack including Canadian bouncer Kirk Wilson and US citizen, Alejandra Villanueva. Fifteen were wounded. The incident took place during an event organized by Toronto residents Philip Pulitano and Craig Pettigrew as a part of the annual BPM music festival.
Kirk Wilson

Nightclub patrons at the Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, seek shelter as an unidentified gunman opens fire
Banners signed by a member of Los Zetas blamed festival organizers for failing to "fall in line" with the cartel.

The next day, armed men stormed the offices of the state's attorney general. Four people died in the firefight that spread across Cancun as the attackers escaped the scene.

The nightclub in Playa del Carmen belongs to two Montrealers, Gregory Senecal, an acquaintance of Gregory Wooley, a well-known figure in organized crime in Montreal and a former associate of jailed Hells Angels boss Maurice ‘Mom’ Boucher. The second owner of the Blue Parrot is Benoit Lamy, founder of the BPM electronic music festival.

Alejandra Villanueva
This wasn’t the first incident of violence at the Blue Parrot. In 2011, a Montreal police investigator on vacation in Playa del Carmen was severely beaten up after taking pictures of other Quebec police officers fraternizing with people linked to organized crime in Quebec.

The Caribbean resort district that straddles Highway 307 along the coastline of the Mayan Riviera has played a role in the cartel war which has raged in Mexico for over a decade. The region's importance in transnational drug trafficking has transformed it into a prize coveted by the leading crime syndicates operating between Montreal, Toronto and Medellin.