Mexico's Zetas Cartel Claims Responsibility for BPM Festival Shooting: Report

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Municipal police watch the sunrise as they stand guard on the beach in front of the Blue Parrot club, a day after a deadly early morning shooting, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on Jan. 17, 2017.

Unclear if deadly shootings in Cancun and Playa del Carmen are linked.

Mexico's Zetas cartel has reportedly claimed responsibility for the shooting at the Blue Parrot nightclub on Monday (Jan. 16) that killed three foreigners and two Mexicans during The BPM Festival in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

According to Fox News and local publication Semanario Playa News, four "narcoblankets" appeared in Playa del Carmen Tuesday morning bearing the following text (translated from Spanish):

"This is a sign that we are already here because you didn’t align PHILLIP -BPM, it is the beginning we are going to cut the heads of Golfos, PELONES and chapulines, Atte [Sincerely] el FAYO Z from the old SCHOOL"

Semanario Playa News speculates that the "FAYO Z" signer could be regional Zeta leader Rafael del Angel Velez Morales. "Phillip -BPM" is believed to be a reference to BPM co-founder Phillip Pulitano. Quintana Roo's attorney general, Miguel Angel Pech, said investigators were looking into whether the banner referred to the BPM music festival or one of its organizers.

Billboard today reported that eyewitness accounts indicate multiple shooters were involved in the attack, contradicting the local authorities' claim that a lone gunman was to blame.

The Associated Press today reported a new shooting at a state prosecutors' office in the nearby resort hub of Cancun. Authorities said four people were killed, including three attackers and one police officer, and five suspected attackers were taken into custody.

It was too early to say if the attacks were linked, but they were a marked intrusion of bloodshed into Mexico's main tourism zone, a region that had previously been spared much of the violence plaguing other parts of the country.

Concerns that violence may be creeping into the once-tranquil beachside town were voiced as people attended a Monday evening vigil in front of the Blue Parrot nightclub.

"This is a sign of what has been happening," said Lenin Amaro, a local business owner and politician. "It has reached us," Amaro said of the country's drug violence. "We were living in what you could call a bubble."

Federal authorities say the Zeta cartel has been in the state for years, especially in Cancun itself, where the Zetas were blamed for the firebombing of a bar in which eight people died in 2010.

And drug cartel influence in the state as a whole goes back at least to the 1990s under Gov. Mario Villanueva, who was later convicted in the U.S. of involvement in large-scale drug smuggling.


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