U.S. Woman Killed in Suspected Drug Dealers’ Tulum Beach Club Shoot-Out

Kelly Cheng/Getty Images
Kelly Cheng/Getty Images

An American woman was killed in Mexico on Friday night when she was hit by gunfire that erupted in a beach club in the resort of Tulum, officials said, in what is believed to have been a dispute between drug dealers.

Prosecutors in the state of Quintana Roo said over the weekend that the woman had no connection to a man from Belize—a suspected drug dealer—who was also killed in the incident. The prosecutors did not release the American’s name, but sources told ABC News she was identified as 44-year-old Niko Honarbakhsh, a Los Angeles native who had been living in Cancun.

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The man killed in the incident was allegedly found to be in possession of cocaine and pills, prosecutors said. They added that the shooting suspects have been identified and are now being hunted by law enforcement.

Authorities also denied local reports that the two victims were a couple, insisting that an image of the Belizean man showed him with a woman who was not connected to the incident, the Associated Press reports. It’s possible that the American may simply have been caught by a stray bullet in the attack.

The U.S. State Department in 2023 issued a travel warning advising Americans to “exercise increased caution” especially after dark in Mexico’s popular Caribbean beach resorts including Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen.

Tulum has been the scene of deadly violence involving foreign citizens in recent years. A German woman and a California travel blogger born in India were shot dead in 2021 as they dined at a restaurant, with local authorities blaming an apparent shootout between two rival groups of drug dealers.

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