An Indian influencer was among the two tourists killed in Tulum, Mexico on Wednesday, Oct. 20, as tensions between the drug cartels in Mexico spilled over to the country’s tourist destinations.

Anjali Ryot, a travel blogger from San Jose, California, was reported dead after two local gangs selling drugs in the area devolved to a shootout outside the local bar La Malquerida, also killing 35-year-old German national Jennifer Henzold and injuring 3 other European tourists, according to

Ryot, an Indian national who studied and worked in California, was celebrating her birthday in Tulum when the incident occurred. Reportedly working for LinkedIn since July 2021, Ryot had over 42,000 followers on Instagram when the incident occurred.

The local gang Los Pelones, which roughly translates as “The Shaved Heads,” has claimed responsibility for the incident in images posted by a local civic group, USA Today reported.

“[You] either get in line or we are going to continue shutting places down like the Mini Quinta,” the sign by Los Pelones claiming responsibility said. “We are in control here.”

Los Pelones is said to be a member of the Gulf Cartel, which is fighting the Jalisco Cartel and other groups in the area for dominance in the drug market inside of Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun. The mayor of Tulum, Marciano Dzul Caamal, has acknowledged the violence in the area has escalated as of late.

“I think these are issues of [organized] crime that in some way are trying to fight over some area and unfortunately in this case there is collateral damage that affects other people who have nothing to do with it,” he said.

Tulum, close to the Caribbean side of Mexico and home to some well-preserved Mayan ruins, is currently being primed by its government to be an international tourist spot akin to Cancun, with an international airport being planned in the area. Wednesday’s incident, however, puts the safety of the area in doubt.

“I think that what was surprising, is we figured that this type of crime wouldn't necessarily be where the main tourist areas are, just because it's such a big part of the economy,” James Graham, a U.S. National, said about the incident. “You would think that you would be very careful to make sure that you know the tourists feel very safe coming here.”

A shootout between gang members of two warring cartels killed an Indian national and a German tourist on Wednesday, as safety concerns in the tourist spot continue to rise. This is a representational image. PIXABAY

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