The Hyatt Ziva in Los Cabos: gunfire in the lobby. The Hyatt Ziva in Los Cabos: gunfire in the lobby.

Tourists take cover in Los Cabos violence

Suspects take pursuing police into the hotel zone of San José

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.

Source: El Universal (sp), BCS Noticias (sp), Octavio Día (sp), El Informante (sp)

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  • Mike S

    Who is buying all these drugs? What was origin of the rifle? Are wealthy tourists consuming all this cocaine? Or is it Mexicans consuming it? Tourist accommodations in Cabo can go for $400 a night and golf and restaurants there are expensive. I would think maybe a small tax on tourist activities would be enough to hire some decent cops. The tourist industry there needs to organize and beef up security and stop this mayhem.

    • michael

      Nothing will work until the Mexican people want it to stop. Period. So far too many Mexicans look the other way or make money from cartel business

      • Geoffrey Rogg

        At least you are one who recognizes the truth instead of blaming it on others.

    • kallen

      I live close to San Jose del Cabo. There is high local drug use in the area; its easy to blame the gringos but they’re only part of the problem (and by no means is it a small portion). A lot of the local young people have substance abuse issues – many can’t hold jobs or show up under the influence. Tourism and construction jobs are plentiful and pay is high compared to the mainland. The disposable income doesn’t get saved or invested…if you know what I mean.

      On the gringo side….

      When I fly into Baja the planes are loaded with tourists behaving very badly [yes, on the plane]! Their “street” behavior is much worse. Somehow there’s this belief that they have some sort of immunity in Mexico. They can’t be wild in the US (cause Johnny law will come down hard) but they think its ok in “lawless” Mexico. Sigh, it’s hard to criticize Mexicans in the US illegally when we behave atrociously in Mexico.

      And lastly….

      The police are corrupt. Proof of such abounds and doesn’t require a keen eye to spot. So given the lack of rule of law, a heavy local drug scene and ill mannered tourists just itching to party hard, its no wonder there is trouble.

      • Mike S

        Thanks for the local insight. I used to go to Cabo often before the highway and jetport were built. I flew in my small plane and even once took my dirt bike down from Ensenada with two other guys. One major hotel and dirt streets was about it. The East Cape was fabulous. I watched it change over the decades. I now occasionally go to La Paz from GDL. Cabo area is a magical place with great water. I know exactly what you are talking about. There is so so much money invested there in tourism, that I’m surprised the tourist industry there tolerates the corruption and drug abuse. Maybe it’s too much to fight, but there is a lot at stake.

    • CaliUSA

      Its mainly meth. And weed. None of the drug busts made by Mexican authorities in BCS has made any mention of finding cocaine. Always Meth and weed. It’s just as much of a local drug problem as it is a tourist drug problem. Even the cartels are using these drugs.

  • Marcos

    I saw Sunday that there was a cam shot of the security guard tackling the gunman not the policia.

  • Bob Flick

    Get the friggin military in there.

  • Geoffrey Rogg

    As much as it may cause pain, resentment and disbelief, it is time that the ex-pat community recognize that the Republic of Mexico is close to becoming a failed state and that they must stop putting their heads in the sand. Tourism by Americans coupled with ex-pat real estate and business investment is a critical element of the Mexican economy.
    Believe me the Government has the resources to tackle their social problems but the political classes are too preoccupied with feathering their own nests and currently are part of the problem. Nothing hurts more than a hole in their pockets and we ex-pats and tourists can hurt them bad. As an American with permanent resident status in Mexico after having worked in corporate executive capacity here for many years and being a fluent Spanish speaker, I would be more than happy to help organize like-minded ex-pats to respectfully make our voices heard and by selective actions show them we mean business. Don’t blame Trump or the American addiction to drugs to salve your consciences, Mexico has had a troubled and unstable history ever since the Spanish conquest but now more than ever before they can put the country on the right track but there are too many Mexicans, including many that you and I know, who behind their friendly welcoming smiles and conversation, are themselves complicit in the existence of this intolerable lawlessness and criminality which pervades all spheres of activity in Mexico. Those of us who have their eyes and ears open, also know of Americans and Canadians who are complicit in corruption and illegality who successfully bribe their way out of court and whom we should denounce to the Mexican and our own authorities. One person alone cannot achieve much but as an organized, well focussed body we can achieve more than you may think in helping to put the country we all love on a better track. VIVA MEXICO!

    • Mike S

      There is no wand that the great moral pontificators from the North can wave and solve Mexico’s drug cartel problems. And I would say that the gringos and their bottomless hard drug desires are certainly a big part of what has spawned organized drug cartels in Mexico. Once that got started, criminals have branched out into other areas and now even Mexicans are getting addicted. A lucrative drug market next to a poor country will be supplied and no wall will stop it. We went through this whole scenario with Columbia in the 80s and now Mx has taken over that gringo market. The trillion dollar failed quasi-military “war on drugs” has been a colossal failure; heroin is now cheaper and more plentiful than ever after 20 years and the “red” states seem to have the biggest problems. Sending in the military would be a disaster. Weren’t the Zetas the off-spring of Reagan’s dirty little Central American covert wars? We spent $500,000 dollars a head killing 200,000 Iraqis and got ISIS out of that $3 trillion disaster. It is time for a new approach. Decriminalized users and put the billions we spend on incarcerating people into rehabilitation. Begin mandatory drug education in our schools. Treat this as the health/mental problem it is. And finally, work with Mexico and aid them in this endeavor- that will be a lot cheaper and save a lot more lives than the Trump approach.

      • Geoffrey Rogg

        To bring your gripe against American Presidents’ actions has nothing to do with what I said and if you do not see and understand the point I was trying to make, then you still do not understand Mexico’s endemic problems, What you say about drug addiction, incarceration and rehabilitation may well be correct but Mexico’s social problems would still exist regardless. There is a very good book “The History of Mexico”, recommended by the authorities to prepare foreigners for the examination that has to be passed as part of the primary prerequisites for Citizenship. The history is tumultuous particularity after the Spanish conquest when the long existing native cultures, indeed civilizations, were brutally put down by their ruthless conquerers. The seeds of corruption, like many diseases, were implanted into the Native Mexicans by the Spanish and other foreign powers who have never ceased to meddle in Mexico’s affairs. The truth is that the European did not “discover” Mexico but, with their uninvited arrival, Mexico, soon “discovered” the brutality of the arrogant, corrupt and pillaging European.

        • Mike S

          I am pretty well versed in the complicated and tumultuous history of Mx and I don’t disagree with your take on what the Spaniards, euro-Americans, and church did to Mx. The Americans brought slavery and guns and disease to North America and far more thoroughly wiped out the indigenous population- some of whom were quite advanced except for steel and guns. I can’t profess a magic solution for Mexico to clean up its corruption. The immediate problem at hand is getting a handle on the drug wars. The US doesn’t have the moral high ground when it comes to drug problems. I am trying to offer practical solutions so that both countries can solve this mutual symbiotic problem. The war on drugs and the massive incarcerations up north have solved nothing. My suggestion is to treat users as a health issue with rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Perils of drug addiction should we well taught in our schools. The GREAT TRUMP WALL and the “law and order” presidency will solve nothing. Jeff Sessions plans on cracking down on pot users…what stupid idea. We should work closely with Mx and offer to help them get a handle on organized crime and we should clean some of the demand up north. The 10’s of billions we spend each year on prisons should be redirected to rehabilitation, education, and aid to Mx. By the way have you read: “A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico” ?

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            Mike, not so long ago there was a documentary on the DEA’s efforts to recruit, train and even pay Mexican police to be an elite squad combatting drug related crime. It was a dismal failure, because as much as the DEA would pay the Mexican drug barons would pay more. Do you honestly believe that the Mexican government is prepared to go up against the drug Mafias? I don’t and I believe that the degree of unwillingness goes right up to Los Pinos. But I accept this and there is nothing I can do about it although I have tried and was confronted with a never ending set of curtains opening in front of me and closing behind my back.

          • Mike S

            The tentacles of the drug cartels run deep.Nevertheless, a lot of ring leaders and their lieutenants have been arrested the last 10 years. Lots of corrupt cops have been replaced. It is not like the Mx government has not been trying. I have spent time in numerous third world countries around the world and even lived for awhile in the Ukraine. The levels of corruption are no worse than Mexico although most don’t demonstrate the violence of the Mx cartels. There are exceptions, but a well paid criminal justice system is a luxury of first world countries. Well paid law enforcement, prosecutors, detectives, and courts cost a lot of money. Even in the US, your chances of jail time heavily depends on your economic status for the same crimes.

          • CaliUSA

            The “Americans” are not responsible for bringing slavery to Mexico.

      • CaliUSA

        You’re forgetting about the floor payments the cartels extort from the businesses in the areas they have taken over by force, and the kidnappings they do too. If you take away their drug profits, they will kidnap more people and demand more protection money from the business owners they extort. They have to be eradicated, stamped out like ISIS, because there is NO rehabilitating these people.

  • Jim Roberts

    Much to think about here. First, this story has not been collaborated.

    That said, it is hard to blame the Mexicans entirely for this. We are bad neighbors.

    Our own country went through the type of battle Mexico now faces in the 20s through the 50s. Then, as now, crime is generally localized and targeted at each other. Then, it was along the Canadian border where the booze came from, which is why Chicago and New York was such a problem. We could do out part to help, but the politics of drugs here in the US limits that to a great degree. e.g. the One trillion dollar (and growing) failed “drug war.”

    Unlike the first prohibition, we more successfully militarized our police and pushed the more violent aspects of our (yes our) supply chain to the other side of the border. So easy now to just point at the Mexicans as if we have nothing to do with it.

    Note this warning: The Mexicans are tiring of this relationship. They are taking on the cartels. The cartels will eventually choose the part of least resistence, which means at least some will relocate to our side of the border. Welcome back Al Capone! He was ours in the first prohibition and he is soon to be ours again. Our supply chain problems will soon be ours. Nor more just pointing at Mexico. Or we could address this second prohibition and could up with a better approach.

    • Gabriel Heiser

      Collaborated? or corroborated?

      • Jim Roberts

        corroborated. opps

  • you can’t handle the truth

    My Cousin and I were asked to immediately leave this resort for not having a wrist band after we ordered two Margaritas that were served to us at the bar for $20 each. Perhaps it was a blessing!

  • Traveler

    My friend was kidnapped in Cabo San Lucas May 2015, he escaped from the vehicle and the incident went partially unreported due to him immediately leaving the country. He mentioned the vehicle he was abducted in as a white escalade and police mentioned that they knew who it was but yet seemed to not be able to do anything..? Cartel, I am assuming.
    After speaking with police and refusing to go to their police station because he feared for his life and thought the abductors would be waiting for him the police finally left him With the hotel representatives (thank God for them) one of the policeman proceeded to tap his hand cuffs and ask for $100 before leaving the hotel.
    Cabo San Lucas is not safe for tourist!!!! The police claim that these individuals appear to target middle aged men in order to get ransom money. Cabo is known as a safe area for tourist but be advised that it is not!!! The cases of kidnapping just go unreported.