Criminals are extorting money from taxi drivers in Mexico's Cancun, as they have done in Acapulco

Criminal gangs are trying to extort ‘protection’ payments from taxi drivers in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Cancun, prosecutors said Monday.

It is a problem that has long beset the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, where the killing of drivers and the torching of taxis has become commonplace, but it was long believed that Cancun would not face such levels of violence and extortion.

On Monday, prosecutors detained five men who had been demanding about $12 per week from 200 unionized taxi drivers to allow them to work. In the past, such demands have usually been accompanied by threats to shoot drivers and burn taxis that fail to pay.

The five men were arrested aboard two taxis, and were found with marijuana and meth in their possession. They have been ordered held pending trial on extortion charges.

High taxi fares have long been a subject of debate in Cancun, but the resort had previously faced another, more pressing problem.

In 2023, there were a number of violent confrontations between medallion taxi drivers and people working for ride-hailing apps.