On Friday, prosecutors said both men killed had criminal histories in Canada and one had a lengthy record relating to robbery, drugs and weapons. Another Canadian was injured and is being treated at a local hospital, but is not yet able to speak to investigators.
Investigations indicate that this attack was motivated by debts resulting from transnational illegal activities in which the victims participated, said Quinta Roo Chief State Prosecutor Oscar Montes. information [est] that they were involved in arms and drug trafficking, among other crimes.
Mr. Montes added that the attack had been planned for nearly a month by a cartel or a gang that was previously unknown to be operating in the area. In accordance with usual procedure, he declined to name her.
The attack happened on Friday at the Xcaret hotel, south of Playa del Carmen. The attackers apparently had guest wristbands to enter the resort.
Montes said an initial group of assassins hired to kill Canadians earlier in January had abandoned the job because there was too much surveillance in the area.
An assassin eventually made it to the compound and carried out the murder. Authorities said the two suspects arrested in the case so far are a professional kidnapper from Mexico City who coordinated the plot, and a hitman.
Police also arrested a woman, who was apparently part of the group of 10 Canadians vacationing at the resort. Mr. Montes clarified that she
took care of the children the victims. She would have met the killers and possibly provided them with information about their activities.
The latest in a series of violent acts in the region
It would not be surprising if Canadian criminal gangs were involved in operations in Quintana Roo. The Caribbean coast state, due to its huge flow of foreigners, has experienced a number of criminal networks with international connections.
A Romanian organized gang has long operated in the state, using ATMs to clone credit cards or make illegal withdrawals. This week, authorities arrested two Ukrainians for their alleged involvement in a fuel theft ring. Immigrant smugglers have long used Cancun as a base for smuggling Cuban migrants.
Last week’s murders are the latest in a series of violent acts along the Riviera Maya, the jewel of Mexico’s tourist industry.
In November, a shootout on the beach in Puerto Morelos left two suspected drug traffickers dead. Authorities said there were about 15 gunmen from a gang there who were apparently vying for control of drug sales.
In late October, further south in the laid-back destination of Tulum, two tourists — an Indian-born Californian travel blogger and a German — were caught in the apparent crossfire of rival drug dealers and killed.
Following these events, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent nearly 1,500 members of the National Guard to reinforce security in the region.