The Mexican government plans to deploy some 7,000 soldiers and federal police officers to the resort city of Cancun on Friday following a series of shootings in a popular area that led to a day of chaos in the island’s main tourism industry.
Proceso news magazine said it obtained a letter sent to Cancun residents on Thursday by Mexican Defense Secretary General Eduardo Sanchez Ortiz urging people to stay calm and well-behaved and leave if they can.
Police were deployed on the streets late Thursday night after repeated gunbattles between rival cartels, the magazine said. Proceso reported that shootout erupted after two men were killed in a traffic jam on a highway linking Cancun with the nearby island of Cozumel.
Mayor Gloria Gonzalez Perez, who is heading a commission investigating the shooting, said the need for the deployment would allow police to monitor the area.
The shootings in a popular tourist area came at a particularly bad time for Mexico. It’s in the midst of an economic slowdown and consumers are cautious with their money in the wake of U.S. tariffs.
On Thursday night, Cancun’s governor apologized for the chaos after a judge in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz ordered the arrest of two municipal police officers who were among six killed in a shootout with rival drug cartel members near the tourist area.