Drug cartel targets Cancun bar

At least eight people died in an
attack at a bar in Cancun, the Mexican resort city known for its white-sand
beaches, spring break festivities and business conferences.

The attack occurred at a bar called
Castillo de Mar, about an hour away from the city’s beach hotel zone, and it’s
unlikely any tourists were victims, said Felix Canul, spokesman at the Quintana
Roo state Attorney General’s office.

According
to witnesses, six men threw Molotov cocktails at the establishment which had
reported two attempts at extortion, apparently by the Zetas drug cartel.

The
brutal Zetas, first set up by former paramilitaries in the 1990s, have grown in
force since splitting off from the powerful Gulf gang, whom they are now
fighting for control of drug trafficking routes.

They
are suspected in last week’s massacre of 72 migrants in northeast Mexico and
many kidnapping, killing and extortion cases.

 Violence in Mexico is intensifying as the
government steps up its battle against drug traffickers and organized crime, expanding
its focus beyond the northern border with the U.S. where most smuggling is
concentrated. In May, federal police arrested Cancun Mayor Gregorio Sanchez for
alleged money laundering and ties to drug-funded organized crime groups.

Mexico’s government says narcotics
trafficking saps 1 percentage point from gross domestic product annually. The
country’s drug cartels generate as much as $30 billion a year selling
marijuana, cocaine and heroin to users in the U.S., according to data from the
U.S. State Department.

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