Mexican Police

Scramble to reassure tourists as group abducted in Puerto Vallarta

MEXICO CITY — Police and troops are searching for 10 to 12 suspected gang members who were abducted in a shocking raid by gunmen on an apparent celebration at an upscale restaurant in the popular beach resort of Puerto Vallarta.

Meanwhile, the city’s tourism promoters scrambled to reassure tourists that it was an isolated incident and that activities for visitors continued without interruption.

In a statement, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board says it “deeply regrets the events that occurred this morning in one of the city’s restaurants and confirms that no tourist was involved or affected in this incident. As an immediate safety measure, security has been reinforced in Puerto Vallarta to ensure that residents as well as tourists can continue with their normal activities. It is important to note that the authorities are taking the necessary measures and Puerto Vallarta is fully operational with all tourism services and attractions open and following their regular schedules without any interruptions.”

Both the kidnappers and those kidnapped were members of criminal organizations, Almaguer said at a news conference called to discuss the early Monday abduction in the resort’s main hotel zone.

“They were not tourists or residents who work in legal activities,” Almaguer said. “They were people tied to a criminal group we can very clearly presume.”

The Jalisco New Generation cartel has become the dominant criminal force in the state. It has battled the powerful Sinaloa cartel for supremacy in other parts of the country, such as Baja California Sur.

Almaguer said two SUVs carrying five gunmen arrived around 1 a.m. at La Leche restaurant on Puerto Vallarta’s main boulevard, which runs through the hotel zone lying between the old beach city and the airport.

He said some of those abducted had been vacationing in Puerto Vallarta for a week and the group that was targeted appeared to be celebrating according to other people in the restaurant. Authorities found lots of drinks and luxury items inside the restaurant. Five vehicles were abandoned at the restaurant, among them one with Jalisco license plates, but a false registration.

 

 

“As representatives of the tourism community of Puerto Vallarta, a city recognized by the warmth of its people and the ease with which visitors enjoy the destination’s diverse offerings, we do not tolerate violence of any kind,” said Agustin Alvarez general director of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board. “We are following the instructions by the different government authorities and encourage the community to do the same; as well as pay attention to information and facts solely communicated by the authorities in charge, in order to dispel false rumors and avoid confusion that do not represent the actual situation in Puerto Vallarta and ensure we do not compromise the security of our residents and tourists.”