Eight bodies dumped in holiday hotspot Cancun as cartel bloodshed escalates

Eight bodies have been dumped in popular Mexican tourist resort Cancun as the authorities work to identify the tragic victims.

The bodies were found in wooded lots and sinkhole ponds, and it is believed the killings are linked growing cartel violence in the area.

The grim discovery included five bodies found at an abandoned building site and three sets of skeletal remains in a wooded area on the outskirts of Cancun.

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The state prosecutor of Quintana Roo, Oscar Montes de Oca, has pledged to carry out more searches to bring the killers to justice.

Speaking to the families of missing people, he revealed that the five bodies found at a building site had been dumped there between one week and two months ago.

Three of the bodies have since been identified as people previously reported missing.

Although searches for clandestine grave sites have become more common throughout Mexico due to the high number of people listed as missing, bodies are rarely found in Cancun, which is known for its tourism industry.

In recent years, Cancun has seen a surge in violent crime as rival drug cartels compete for control of the lucrative drug trade.

In March, a US tourist was shot in the leg in the nearby town of Puerto Morelos.

The US State Department has issued a travel alert warning travellers to exercise caution, especially after dark, at resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

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Mexico's homicide rate has tripled since 2006, and last year, 301 bodies were discovered in the state across 41 secret graves, with 544 bodies found in 2020, the highest number to date.

In November 2022, police found 53 bags of mixed human remains after a dog was seen running through the streets with a severed human hand in its mouth.

Also last year, two Canadians were killed in Playa del Carmen, apparently because of debts between international drug and weapons trafficking gangs.

In 2021, in Tulum, two tourists were killed when they apparently were caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between rival drug dealers.

The violence has left many concerned about the safety of visitors to the area, as well as the people who call Cancun and the surrounding areas home.

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