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(THE SUN) – Chilling pictures of a man lying dead in the sand in crime-plagued Acapulco encapsulate the brutal violence gripping the once-idyllic tourist hotspot in Mexico.
Tourists found the unnamed man’s body floating face-down in the water off Caletilla Beach after a suspected shooting.
Armed troops and forensics personnel were seen carrying the body off the tourist-packed sands, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
One soldier had to stop a lifeguard from taking a picture of the corpse on the sands that have become all too accustomed to such brutality.
It is unclear how the man died, but Guerrero state, like many others in Mexico, has long been crippled by gang and drug violence.
More than 25,000 murders were recorded in Mexico last year as rival drug gangs increasingly splintered into smaller, more merciless groups.
The Guerrero region itself is home to numerous poppy fields used to produce opium, the main ingredient in heroin.
In Acapulco, locals who depend on tourism as their main source of income are understood to bring guns to the beach as protection.
Acapulco is still in the midst of its worst crime wave in a decade, with as many as 12 people murdered every day, reports claim.
In January 2016, a man swam up to shore with a handgun and shot a beach vendor three times in the chest before escaping on a jet ski.
That “execution” was the fourth of its kind on Acapulco Bay, and the shooters escaped on every occasion.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has proposed legalizing opium poppy production as a way to help end bloody turf battles fought by drug cartels in various parts of the country.
Fox served as president from 2000 to 2006 with the center-right National Action Party but has since distanced himself from the party.
“The plants themselves are not harmful, we make them harmful, [especially] the criminals who use them for evil purposes,” Fox said at a pro-marijuana event in the capital on Wednesday.
He also implored Mexico’s presidential candidates to openly debate drug legalization ahead of the July vote.
The ex-leader cited the violence-wracked southern state of Guerrero, arguing that drug legalization would curtail cartel profits and boost safety.