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Terrorism, organized crime ruled out in Playa ferry blast

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Surveillance video captures the moment an explosion rocked a ferry in Playa del Carmen. Photo: YouTube

Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo. — Terrorism and organized crime have been ruled out in the ferry explosion that injured tourists, the federal attorney general’s office said today.

The blast was set off by a crude device, said acting Attorney General Alberto Elías Beltrán, according to wire services Reuters and the Associated Press.

“The responsibility of terrorist organizations or organized crime has been ruled out,” he said at a press conference, without offering details on any suspects.

Federal prosecutors reason that terror groups and criminal gangs would have no motivation to carry out an attack. Gangs would know that such an attack would draw unwanted attention and an increased police presence.

The explosion injured at least 25 people, including U.S. tourists, and comes as the hospitality industry is preparing for the arrival of U.S. and Canadian spring breakers.

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday barred its employees from traveling to Playa del Carmen, and later limited the ban to certain neighborhoods.

Federal police will increase its deployment of officers in the area, particularly in tourist zones, said Manelich Castilla, the top federal police chief. He stressed that the government has the resources to keep the peace in tourist destinations.

“Reservations have not been canceled, and the beaches are open, without incident,” he told reporters.

The ferry was operated by Barcos Caribe, which is owned by the family of former Quintana Roo Gov. Roberto Borge. Borge was extradited from Panama in January and is in jail on corruption charges.

Sources: AP, Reuters

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