A police pursuit and gunfire in the hotel zone of San José del Cabo early Sunday morning generated panic among tourists and hotel workers, although such incidents are more frequent in the state of Baja California Sur than they used to be.
An unofficial report said police became suspicious of two men travelling in a sport-utility vehicle on the San José-Cabo San Lucas highway. But when they were ordered to stop they fled instead.
Police pursued them into the hotel zone, where one abandoned the vehicle and ran for the nearby hotel Hyatt Ziva. Gunfire drove frightened onlookers in the hotel lobby to dive for cover but the fugitive was soon apprehended.
His accomplice was also caught.
Drugs and an assault rifle were found in their vehicle.
It was the first time that a clash between police and armed gangsters has occurred in one of the area’s hotels, the newspaper BCS Noticias reported.
The incident was yet another in a wave of violence that has engulfed much of the state, where gunfire in the streets, narco-messages left with bodies, drug seizures and the characteristics of the murders are indications that there’s a war on for control of retail drug sales.
Six bodies were found near San José and Cabo San Lucas last Thursday and Friday, all were victims of assassination and some showed signs of torture.
In the municipality of Los Cabos alone there were 51 gangland murders in January, up from seven in 2016. February’s figure was down slightly at 41, but up from just four the previous year.
According to one local media report, 38% of the state’s security personnel failed their trust and evaluation tests, the second-worst performance level in the whole country.
State officials said in December that 40 municipal police in Los Cabos who had failed the tests had been dismissed, a move that prompted local officials to fill the vacuum with 190 officers of the National Gendarmerie, whose deployment is being supported financially by local businesses.
But the municipality lost yet more local police last Thursday when at last 30 handed in their resignations, disillusioned by authorities who they claim have left the force dismantled, without vehicles, weapons and uniforms and defenseless against organized crime, according to a report by Octavio Día.
However, the resignations have not been accepted because the force hasn’t enough officers to carry out security operations that have been drawn up for San José’s annual festival, which starts tomorrow.
That event drew some harsh criticism last week from a municipal councillor who questioned the hiring of a Sinaloa band whose songs, called narcocorridos, pay tribute to drug cartel leaders and their acts of violence.
One song by Calibre 50 is dedicated to the leader of the notorious Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, reported the newspaper El Informante, which is among the cartel’s fighting for control of the region’s drug “plaza.”
Plans to hire the band were reversed last Thursday and another will take its place.