Two tourists got more than they bargained for when their bird-watching trip in Tabasco was interrupted by a group of armed men.
The incident was recorded by a dashcam video that was taken in Feburary 2020, but only uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday.
The beginning of the video shows two men, Aaron and Logan, discussing directions, apparently lost.
“Just pick one,” Logan said.
“I’ll go straight,” Aaron replied. “There’s a bike on this road so there must be civilization somewhere around here.”
Then the driver, Aaron, noticed a large white SUV quickly gaining on them, and the two began to worry.
“Oh God, they have guns,” Aaron exclaimed as the SUV pulled up.
The tourists rolled up the windows and Logan fastened his seatbelt, telling Aaron to drive away. But the armed men stopped and questioned them.
One asked in Spanish, “Are you lost or what?”
“What? Please, no español, please,” Aaron said, starting to panic.
The tone quickly changed, as one man in the gang can be heard trying to calm down the frightened tourists, patting Aaron on the back and even offering him a hug.
“No problem, no problem,” the man repeated in English.
The tourists and their questioners struggled to communicate across the language barrier, the latter saying in Spanish that they wanted to know why the two entered their land, and asking them where they were going.
The tourists, petrified, tried to understand.
“I’m going to pass out,” Logan said.
“Tranquilo, güero,” (“Take it easy, whitey,”) helpfully responded one of the men.
Eventually, Logan managed to explain that they were taking pictures of birds while on their way to visit his mother in Cancún.
One of the men introduced himself as Phillip, trying to calm the still terrified tourists.
“You speak English a little? Please don’t kill us,” Aaron begged.
“No problem, no problem,” Phillip replied.
In Spanish, a man warned them to be careful about driving onto private land because it could belong to narcos. Then another asked if the dashcam was recording.
“No más,” Logan responded, turning it off.
In the YouTube comments, the video sparked a debate about whether the armed men were really cartel members, part of a self-defense group, or simply landowners defending their property.
“Even the cartel members were trying to calm them down, lol, that was nice,” wrote one user, apparently agreeing that the men were narcos.
“These weren’t cartel members, they are civilians who fight against them to protect the land,” another commented.
The Pacific Cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Los Zetas and various self-defense groups all operate in Tabasco.
According to the coordinates on the men’s dashcam video, they were half way between Villahermosa, Tabasco, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.
With reports from Infobae