CRIME

Zetas cartel claims to be behind the Playa del Carmen shooting

Four separate messages with the same text appeared Tuesday morning in Playa del Carmen.

Four separate messages with the same text appeared Tuesday morning in Playa del Carmen.  (Courtesy of Semanario Playa News)

Mexican authorities are investigating whether the Zetas cartel is behind the deadly shooting in Playa del Carmen after four separate “narcoblankets” appeared Tuesday morning across town claiming the attack was their doing.

The messages were handwritten, seemingly by the same person, on four white blankets. They all had the same text, which read:

"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"

The shooting at a crowded beachfront nightclub early Monday during an electronic music festival killed five people, including one American, and wounded a dozen. Officials said the gunfire erupted when security personnel tried to stop a man from entering the Blue Parrot club with a gun.

According to local media outlet Semanario Playa News, which first reported the news of the narcoblankets, the signer of the notes - “Fayo Z” - could be Rafael del Angel Velez Morales, one of the Zetas leaders operating in the northern part of Quintana Roo.

Soon after neighbors reported the incident, police took the blankets down and put them in the hands of the State’s Attorney General’s Office.

Leaving threatening messages on blankets and pieces of cloth is a common practice among organized crime gangs across the country.

“What is behind all this is a turf war. This group [Zetas] tried to charge a fee to the organizers of the BMP Festival and they refused saying that they had already paid quotas to other organizations,” said a longtime resident who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

The “Phillip” mentioned in the message would be one of the partners of the BPM Festival.

For a number of years, Playa del Carmen has been tightly controlled by two groups, Cartel del Golfo and Los Pelones, under a pact that split the beach resort touristic area in two for drug-selling purposes and allowed them a peaceful coexistence.

Now that Zetas seemingly made clear they want in,  the resort area is entering a whole different game.

"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."

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