PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Two Canadian men were shot to death execution-style outside an apartment building in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta, authorities said Monday.
Witnesses told police that a gunman approached Gordon Douglas Kendall and Jeffrey Ronald Ivans outside the building they were staying in and shot Kendall, according to Jalisco state prosecutor Guillermo Diaz.
The gunman then chased Ivans to the pool area and shot him. Witnesses said two other gunmen arrived minutes later and repeatedly shot the dead or dying Canadians, Diaz said. The men fled and no arrests have been made.
Diaz said Ivans was carrying a handgun, though he apparently was not able to use it before he was shot. It is unusual for people in Mexico, particularly foreigners, to carry handguns. It was not clear if Ivans had a permit.
Diaz said police have reports that the men were involved in real estate developments in another nearby resort area, Bahia de Banderas.
Investigators have not determined a motive for the killing.
Sgt. Bill Whalen of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the service's organized crime and gang units suspected Kendall and Ivans of being in the drug trade in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
"We were aware of who they were, that they were in Mexico and that they were involved in the drug trade," said Whalen, an officer in the RCMP's Combined Forces Special Enforcment Unit.
Whalen said Ivans pleaded guilty in Kamloops, British Columbia, in 2002 to one charge of drug trafficking and was fined $1,000.
British Columbia's biggest city, Vancouver, has seen a surge in crime since the start of the year. Canadian police say at the root of the increase are drug gangs, with a Mexican cocaine supply line heading north through California to the city.
In Mexico's Michoacan state, which borders Jalisco, police arrested three federal agents for allegedly passing information to organized crime.
The Public Safety Department said in a statement the three agents, ages 33, 37 and 38, were assigned to the port city of Lazaro Cardenas as part of President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on organized crime.
One of the officers was carrying $15,000 when arrested and investigators believe it was money received for informing on police operations, it said.
Calderon first launched a crackdown against organized crime in Michoacan, his home state, deploying thousands of soldiers and federal agents shortly after taking office.
Drug traffickers have responded fiercely, unleashing unprecedented violence with shootouts and gruesome decapitations. More than 13,500 people have been killed by drug violence since December 2006. The government says most of the dead were involved in drug trafficking.