Four narco-signs appeared this morning in Playa del Carmen bearing messages that suggest Monday morning’s shooting at a beachfront bar was related to drug trafficking.
“This is a warning that we are already here because you didn’t align yourself Phillip – BPM,” the message read. “It is the beginning, we are going to cut off the heads of Golfos, Pelones and chapulines. Sincerely, El Fayo Z from the old school.”
“Phillip” is presumably BPM Festival co-founder Phillip Pulitano while “Golfos” and “Pelones” could refer to the drug gangs Cartel del Golfo and Los Pelones.
The message could mean that the Zetas cartel was behind the shooting.
The Facebook-based news outlet Semanario Playa News, which broke the story of the narco-signs, reported that “Fayo Z” could be Quintana Roo Zeta leader Rafael del Ángel Velez Morales.
Five people died and 15 were wounded in gunfire at the Blue Parrot, a venue for the closing night of the 10-day BPM Festival, an international electronic music festival held annually in Playa del Carmen.
The state’s Attorney General said this morning that investigators were examining the possibility that drug sales were the principal motive in the shooting, caused by dealers fighting over territory.
Miguel Ángel Pech has said that extortion is also being considered as a motive.
He said security video shows the attacker enter the bar and fire five times at a man who has been identified as part of the festival’s security team. However, his family said the man, who lived in Veracruz, was actually a telephone company employee on vacation in the Riviera Maya resort city.
The shooter is believed to have fled in a taxi, whose driver has a criminal record for extortion and is also a former municipal police officer.
The dead have been identified as:
• Kirk Wilson, a Canadian who was the festival’s security supervisor at the Blue Parrot;
• Daniel Pessina, an Italian and a member of the festival staff;
• Alejandra Margarita Villanueva Ibarra, from the U.S.;
• Geovanni Francisco Ruiz Murillo, of Veracruz; and
• Rafael Antonio Peñaloza Vega, also of Veracruz.
Authorities have not said which of the victims the attacker was after.
However, the newspaper Milenio reported that Ruiz Murillo, who was hit four times during the shooting, had two Facebook profiles, one of which showed him in a police uniform and carrying arms.
In the other his profile picture showed him with an AK-47 firearm and a post advised he had a new job.
This year’s BPM Festival was the 10th but may well be its last, in Playa del Carmen at least. “At the moment our position is that BPM will not happen [again],” said Mayor Cristina Torres Gómez yesterday afternoon.
She told a press conference there would be a reassessment of the requirements and procedures for obtaining permits in terms of security so as to guarantee the safety of tourists and residents.
“. . . we have to analyze the type of destination we want to have, what type of events we want to have and promote . . . .”
Another similar festival, Arena Festival 2017, scheduled for February 1-6, has been suspended while stronger security measures are considered, the mayor said.
The business community made its position clear yesterday. “We’re asking for these kinds of events to go away,” said María Helena Mata Pineda, president of the local branch of the Business Coordinating Council. “We don’t want BPM here anymore, or any other similar event.”