Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mexican armed forces raid drug houses in Playa del Carmen tourist zone

Military assault turns up crack, machine guns and a 13 year old narco

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo -- Military forces in this popular resort on Mexico's Riviera Maya yesterday announced a major security sweep in the tourist zone which turned up significant drug and weapons caches.

Four members of Los Pelones, a local drug and murder-for-hire gang locked in a deadly turf war with the powerful Los Zetas cartel, were arrested. One of those taken into custody was a 13 year old girl. Over a thousand bags of cocaine ready for retail distribution were seized, together with military assault weapons, including AK-47s, an AR-15 and a Heckler & Koch .9 mm MP5 sub-machine gun (pictured). The operation was staged by Mexican army and marine troops late Sunday evening (Feb. 12). They also secured three vehicles.

The raid was carried out at a local bar where police say narcotics were commonly sold in a bathroom, and at nearby apartments. The girl is the niece of a well known Riviera Maya drug lord, according to authorities. The cocaine was in powder form and "rocks," which are commonly called crack. Investigators say drugs sold by Los Pelones are warehoused on Cozumel, a Caribbean island about six miles off the Quintana Roo coast, and brought ashore for distribution. Cozumel is famous for its pristine waters, attracting scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world.

Playa del Carmen is no stranger to narcotics trafficking and collateral crimes. The local prosecutor says that Los Zetas control the commercial extortion industry along the touristy Fifth Avenue. In the nearby resort of Isla de Mujeres, two female drug peddlers were executed in a hotel room in October (http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/two-women-executed-in-plush-isla-de.html). On Sept. 11, Playa del Carmen's chief of Tourist Police was shot to death in his patrol car, and a deputy with him was gravely wounded (http://mexicogulfreporter-supplement.blogspot.com/2011/11/chief-of-tourist-police-executed-in.html).

Los Pelones started out as hired assassins but have expanded into the narcotics trade. Their former boss, who was captured in December after killing two victims "by mistake," has confessed to 30 Cancún murders (http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/hit-man-with-possible-merida-connection.html). A bitter internal power struggle is underway to determine who will succeed him, which authorities believe may have produced these brutal executions on Jan. 25: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2012/01/brutalized-bodies-of-two-men-found-in.html.

The four Playa del Carmen suspects arrested Sunday evening will remain in custody while local prosecutors investigate the case.

My observation: Further proof that local police just can't get the job done in the now 62 month old drug war. Without the active involvement of the Mexican military, nobody would ever be arrested, much like it was before the National Security Strategy was implemented in December 2006. And yet critics abound . . . in Mexico and abroad.

More on Los Pelones
Ex-cop with Los Pelones connections executed in Cancún: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/former-municipal-police-officer-in.html.
Mother of a Los Pelones hit man is decapitated in Cancún: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/woman-53-decapitated-in-cancun-police.html.
Double AK-47 execution in Cancún: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/ak-47-attack-in-cancun-leaves-two-dead.html.
Los Pelones hit man with Mérida connection admits to 30 executions in Cancún: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/hit-man-with-possible-merida-connection.html.

Riviera Maya in the hands of drug cartels and extortionists: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2012/02/mexicos-caribbean-riviera-maya-in-hands.html.

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