| Last updated
A cartel expert has warned tourists not to go to Mexico right now.
People have been urged to stay away from the popular holiday destination following a spate of murders, including two tourists who were shot dead and three who were injured at a restaurant in Tulum.
Large signs attributed to the Los Pelones gang also appeared in a marketplace, threatening local residents and tourists.
The situation is so dangerous that Robert Almonte, an expert on Mexican cartels and security consultant, believes people should think twice before travelling to the country.
He told the New York Post: "What we're seeing is a huge increase in street fighting from the plaza bosses.
"That's how they respond when rivals come onto their turf. They don't lose any sleep over who they shoot. And if there are innocent bystanders, too bad. That's the way they think."
He went on: "Mexico is not doing anything to fix the problem.
"My concern is that, as a tourist, you are not going to be the target, but you might be sitting at a table next to a target, and suddenly that vacation becomes your last."
Los Pelones have long been a feared enforcer of the Gulf Cartel, whose gangland war with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and Sinaloa Cartel along the Riviera Maya has escalated over recent weeks.
On 21 October, US travel blogger Anjali Ryot, 25, and German tourist Jennifer Henzold, 35, were shot and killed in Tulum.
A couple of weeks later, dozens of tourists ran for their lives and two people were killed after 15 gang members went on a shooting spree along a beach in the village of Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun.
As a result of the violence, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a 'tourist battalion', made up of 1,500 National Guard soldiers tasked with keeping visitors safe.
From the start of December, the unit will be stationed in Cancun and Tulum, where Mexican authorities have said there are 10 gangs trying to assert their dominance in the drug trade.
Earlier this year, Jalisco cartel reportedly began hunting down and kidnapping police officers, before killing them in front of their families.
The group kidnapped members of an elite police force in the state of Guanajuato, before torturing them to find out the names and addresses of their colleagues, AP reports.
They then killed the police officers in their homes on their days off.
A professionally printed banner, which was signed by the cartel, was hung on a building in May.
It sent a chilling warning to the police force, reading: "If you want war, you'll get a war. We have already shown that we know where you are. We are coming for all of you.
"For each member of our firm (CJNG) that you arrest, we are going to kill two of your Tacticals, wherever they are, at their homes, in their patrol vehicles."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read