Drug Gang Crossfire Kills LA Woman Living In Cancun

Niko Honarbakhsh, 44, died from gunshot wounds she sustained from crossfire after a drug deal turned violent nearby in the Mexican beach town of Tulum, Fox News Digital recently reported.

Authorities later identified Honarbakhsh as a Los Angeles native living as an expatriate in Cancun. Local reports initially attempted to connect her with an alleged drug dealer who died in the incident, but authorities dismiss these claims as baseless.

According to an Aug. 2023 State Department travel advisory, “Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted.”

“U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel,” the advisory warned. “ U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands.”

Prosecutors for the coastal Caribbean state of Quintana Roo emphasized that the American national had no link to the alleged drug dealer, who also died in the shooting. Local media suggested the two may have been a couple, but authorities say a photo of the man shows him with a different woman.

Authorities say the alleged drug dealer had cocaine and pills on his person when he died, and they have identified the suspects in the shooting and are pursuing them to bring them to justice.

Drug violence in the resort town of Tulum has claimed the lives of other foreign tourists. In 2021, a California travel blogger and a German tourist died in the crossfire of rival drug dealers having a gunfight while the two were eating in a restaurant.

The Daily Mail reported shortly after her death that the late Honarbakhsh was the glamorous wife of former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Karl Perman. She lived in Cancun and southern California and frequently posted photos from luxurious beaches and restaurants.