It is a story that has happened too often – the dream vacation of a foreigner to Mexico ends in a senseless death.
Violent crime and murder is rampant in parts of Mexico, especially in Acapulco – a popular stop of the beach resort that is also known as the murder capital of the country.
In 2017 alone there were as many as 953 murders in Acapulco, a jump of 918 in 2016. The violence was so dangerous that the US Department of State warned Americans to stay away.
The state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is based, and other Mexican states have warning alerts of level 4 Do Do Not Travel #, the same as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the New York Post.
Yet the tourists keep coming.
In July Tatiana Mirutenko, a 27-year-old from Chicago, was killed by a stray bullet fired by two men on a fast-moving motorcycle when she emerged from a bar in a luxury part of the city after a night of dancing
She celebrated her first wedding anniversary with her husband (together above) when she was murdered in July. She is one of the 16,339 murders committed in Mexico in the first seven months of 2017
Last year there were more than 35 million visitors to Mexico.
In October 2018, Mexico saw 688,000 visitors from the United States, an increase of seven percent over the previous year.
At the same time, the gut-wrearing stories of American tourists who have been viciously killed or targeted have increased.
In July, Tatiana Mirutenko, a 27-year-old from Chicago, was killed by a stray bullet fired by two men on a fast-paced motorcycle when, after a night of dancing, she came from a bar in a luxurious part of the city.
She was visiting to celebrate her wedding anniversary of a year with her husband.
She was on vacation in Mexico since she was a little girl. She never thought she would be one of the 16,339 murders registered in the country in the first seven months of this year, according to statistics from Mexican law enforcement.
& # 39; She loved the culture, loved the people, & # 39; said her heartbroken father Wasyl Mirutenko to the Post.
When asked if her murderers were caught, he choked in tears and said: "I do not really care. Whatever happens, it will not bring her back. & # 39;
Wisconsin girl Abbey Conner, 20, died after she disappeared from drinking bootleg tequila in November 2017
She died after drinking at the bar of her all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen and drowned in a shallow pool in November 2017. One of the swimming pools at Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar is shown above
In Acapulco, two men were shot dead in October by a barrage of gunshots while on the beach. The police removed the bodies when tourists returned to the beach a few minutes later.
The US State Department warns that armed groups operate independently from the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups often maintain roadblocks and can use violence against travelers. & # 39;
In April, tourists at Celtilla Beach encountered the bullet-entangled body of a fisherman who had washed ashore. The police said he probably died in a dispute about drugs.
In January 2017, five people were shot at an electronic music festival at the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen. Two were Canadian, one Italian, one Colombian and one American 18-year-old Alejandra Villanueva Ibarra from Denver.
Black market tequila and liquor have also led to senseless death.
Wisconsin girl Abbey Conner, 20, died by drowning in a shallow pool at the Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar at Playa del Carmen in November 2017 after drinking bootleg tequila shots at the luxury resort.
Mexican soldiers carry the corpse of a man who was murdered and found in Caletilla Beach in Acapulco, the murder capital of Mexico, in April 2018. Cops said he was probably killed in a drug dispute
In January 2017, five tourists, including 18-year-old Alejandra Villanueva Ibarra from Denver, were shot dead in the Blue Parrot nightclub
She drank with her brother Austin and they both blacked out. Austin woke up in the hospital with a lump on his forehead and no memory of the night.
Patricia Protage said her 19-year-old son stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Cancún for spring break and after drinking the sketchy alcohol at a bar there he darkened and woke up on the floor of a filthy prison cell.
He can not remember anything that happened after he took his first sip of his second beer, & # 39; she said to the Post.
& # 39; This is a child who has never used drugs and has only drunk a few beers & # 39 ;, she added.
It was frightening and it happens all the time with children who are going to Mexico for spring break … He never wants to go back. We are the # NeverInMexico family. We travel quite extensively, but none of us will ever go back, "she said.
Since these incidents, the Mexican authorities have closed two distilleries that produce unauthorized alcohol and tequila with dangerous amounts of methanol.
Despite the senseless murder stories, the number of tourists hunting to Mexico has increased and more than 35 million people visited the country last year. In October 2018, Mexico saw 688,000 visitors from the United States, an increase of seven percent over the previous year
A 41-year-old mother from Queens, New York, said she had become almost a drug mule for a Mexican cartel when she noticed that someone put two bags of white powder in her backpack while staying in a high-end, all-inclusive stay resort in Cancún.
& # 39; It was scary, I was with my children and I locked myself in the apartment. I was worried that a drug trafficker would get into arms to get the drugs, "she told the Post.
She said she was too skeptical about the Mexican police to report the bags because there are many criminal activities in Mexico, and if you do not know who you are dealing with, you may find yourself in even more trouble. . You can not trust the police in Mexico. & # 39;
After calling her husband and the security company she works for in the US, she left the backpack in the Airbnb and checked out. A few days later her husband went to the Airbnb and said that the backpack was no longer there.
& # 39; To this day I do not know what happened. I was either used as a bait for something or it was a test drive for the delivery of a drug, "she told the Post.
As a result of the horror stories, Mexican tourism says they are working with local law enforcement to strengthen the presence of the police during peak touring in Acapulco and Cacún.
"American tourists should know that recent incidents of violence have had virtually no impact on tourists or tourist areas," said Dario Flota Ocampo, CEO of the tourism office in Quintana Roo (where Cancun is located), against the Post.
"Tens of millions of Americans have visited Quintana Roo over the past ten years and the vast majority of them have not been involved in any kind of incidents. . . They have a great time and come back again and again, "he added.