Tourist Magnet Los Cabos Is No Longer a Haven From Bloodshed of Mexico’s Drug War

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Mexican soldiers patrol Palmilla Beach, where three men were killed by a group of men with automatic weapons in San Jose del Cabo on Aug. 6, 2017. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

On a recent balmy afternoon in Los Cabos, as tourists and locals frolicked in the sparkling blue sea, a group of men toting automatic weapons stormed onto a crowded beach.

By the time the attackers fled, three men lay dead beneath a grove of palm trees — another sign that the violence roiling other parts of Mexico has arrived at one of the country’s most prized and protected tourist resorts.

Los Cabos, a municipality that encompasses the cities of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the 20 miles of beachfront resorts between them, has morphed into a battlefield since the arrest last year of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel was once so firmly planted in the state of Baja California Sur that he and other cartel leaders vacationed here safely — along with more than a million American tourists each year. But since Guzman’s arrest and extradition to the U.S., the cartel has fragmented into warring factions, who are fighting each other as well as gangsters aligned with the emergent Jalisco New Generation cartel.

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Family members and friends mourn Juan Jose Burgoin Fausto, 47, and nephew Edwin Guerrero Burgoin, 22, at the family’s home in San Jose del Cabo. The two victims were gunned down in broad daylight in the northern part of the city. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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