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Man Murdered on Costera Sidewalk

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 09 March, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 7 March) Gabriel Morlet Campos, 35, was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of Starbucks in Costa Azul on Saturday night around midnight. He was an architect, and the son-in-law of a cousin of outgoing governor, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo. It was the first openly violent incident in the tourist zone of Acapulco in many months. Witnesses said it was a kidnapping attempt that went wrong. When Morlet would not enter the gunmen’s vehicle, they shot him.

Evidently the crime was contrary to an explicit drug-gang policy to leave the tourist zone alone. A day later the heads of four men were found in plastic bags out near the end of the toll road from Mexico City, with a message that named the men as “kidnappers and extortionists” who had to pay for killing Morlet. The gang shot up a police station and the home of a police commander in the working-class suburb of Emiliano Zapata prior to dumping the plastic bags on the highway. The written accusation was found with the grizzly deposit, signed in the name of a locally known crime boss. Police have not confirmed whether the victims truly could be linked to the murder on the Costera, or whether it was just “delinquent disinformation.”

Local businesses along the Costera in Costa Azul were very upset about the incident. Executives of discos and restaurants, who organized the “Speak Well of Aca” campaign, said that the crime on Saturday night was really an isolated incident and that the victim was targeted because of his association with a well-to-do political family. They emphasized that tourists are not in danger of similar episodes. Rodolfo Tercero, one of the founders of the campaign, told the press that it is demoralizing when something happens like the attempted kidnapping and murder of a member of Acapulco society, but it is important to distinguish between drug crimes and the run of the mill criminal activity that has been going on for decades both in Acapulco and in every other urban area. “This was not a drug crime,” he said. The “Speak Well of Aca” campaign does not try to cover up the problem of violence, but rather clarify and explain it. Moreover, it tries to change the awareness of those who live here and of the visitors, to emphasize the wonderful aspects of the town and resort community.