ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Six Spanish tourists were raped by a gang of armed, masked men in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, the latest chapter of violence that has tarnished the once-glamorous Pacific coast resort.
The attackers burst into a house the Spaniards had rented on the outskirts of Acapulco, in a low-key beachside area, and held 12 Spanish men and women and one Mexican woman at gunpoint before dawn on Monday.
They tied up the six men with phone cords and bathing suit straps and then raped the six Spanish women, said Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton at a press conference later Monday.
"This is a regrettable situation, and of course it is going to damage Acapulco," said Walton. The once-glittering resort that attracted movie stars and celebrities in the 1950s and 60s has already been battered by years of drug gang killings and extortions, but except for a very few incidents, the violence largely has not touched tourists.
Walton said he believed, but wasn't sure, that the assailants in Monday's attack didn't belong to a drug gang.
"From what the attorney general has told me, I don't think this was organized crime, but that will have to be investigated, we don't know," Walton said.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement saying it regretted the attack, and suggesting it was not drug-cartel related.
"This is a common crime, and thus up to now, the investigations are being carried out by local authorities and they will be the ones to provide information," the statement said.
In Mexico, federal authorities investigate drug-related crimes.
Security and drug analyst Jorge Chabat said that, after years of drug gang activity in Acapulco, the distinction may be merely semantic.
"At this point, the line between common and organized crime is very tenuous, there are a lot of these gangs that take advantage of the unsafe situation that currently exists, they know the government can't keep up," Chabat said. "Everything points to this being organized crime, because several gangs have operated there for years ... it's probably not the big cartels, but there are smaller groups that carry out crimes on a permanent basis."