Belizean Man Gunned Down in Tulum: Drug Trade Connection Suspected
There is a second murder to report tonight. In this case, a Belizean man was killed over in Tulum, Mexico – a popular tourist destination. On Friday night, 22-year-old, Shawn Billary, was gunned down along one of the many beaches in Tulum, Mexico. Billary’s prosperity was on the rise in Mexico for several years; a situation that had the authorities believe that he was active in Mexico’s drug trade. Reporter Vejea Alvarez spoke to his family and filed the following report.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: A Belize City man is dead after being shot multiple times during one of the many shootouts that play out on the beaches of Tulum, Mexico. On Friday night, gunfire erupted at a beach club in the town among rival drug traffickers operating along its sandy beaches. The gunmen exchanged a hail of bullets, and when the shooting subsided, 22-year-old Shawn Billary was dead. But what was he doing in Mexico? Mexican authorities believe he was an active member of the drug trade and found cocaine and pills on him. However, his family says they weren’t aware of his alleged lifestyle. 22-year-old Kelsey Lamb, Billary’s common-law-wife, says while his death doesn’t come as a surprise, they’re left in shock.
Kelsey Lamb, Common-law-wife: “All I could have done is just cry because I had my baby in my hands at the same time. We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: So you guys were aware of what he was doing in Mexico ? Did he tell you guys when he was going?
Kelsey Lamb, Common-law-wife: “No. He never told us.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Billary’s family says he had been living in Mexico for the past six years and was staying with friends in the coastal community. However, Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico, Oscar Arnold says Mexican authorities had trouble learning his identity.
Oscar Arnold, Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico: “At the time authorities did not find any form of identification on him or in his hotel room. This was at Hotel Selena in the Zona Costera de Tulum. And so what we did was we received the photos of identifying marks on the corpse and we forwarded those to the police department. The police department did an investigation and they were able to identify the individual of a file that they have and they were also able to contact the mother of the deceased and through the photos of the distinguishing tattoos on the body she was able to say that this was her son.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The father of one was no stranger to Belizean law enforcement and was wanted by local authorities for a murder investigation. But to his family, he was the breadwinner. They say Billary would contact them daily.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: When last did you speak to him ?
Kelsey Lamb, Common-law-wife: “Thursday night.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: And what was that like ?
Kelsey Lamb, Common-law-wife: “We just talked about his daughter and life. He was a loving father to his daughter. A kind dad. Every day we talked, sometimes the whole night. He didn’t really come to the city to go look for us. We would go look for him. He was a hard working person to try to provide for his family and everything. “
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: So he did what he had to do.
Kelsey Lamb, Common-law-wife: “Yes.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While Mexican authorities are yet to confirm whether Billary was involved in the shootout and was indeed a drug dealer the details surrounding his death point to a possible rise of Belizeans becoming more active in Mexico’s underworld.
Oscar Arnold, Belize’s Ambassador to Mexico: “There have been instances where a few individuals have tried to I guess enter the underworld in that area. I can’t say for sure whether this is a new occurrence or if this has been happening for a while. We can only pick up the pieces after the incidents have occurred and try to make some sense of what took place.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Ambassador Arnold says that while Mexican authorities search for Billary’s shooters, the embassy will be working to get his body home.