Prosecutors said they believe there is no motivation for a terrorist group to have carried out the attack and also think criminal gangs would not have done it, knowing it would draw unwanted attention and increased security.
Mexico: Crude bomb caused ferry blast; terrorism ruled out
Responsibility by terrorist organizations or organized crime has been ruled out, Deputy Attorney General Arturo Elias Beltran said at a news conference.
He added that the bomb had a very limited capacity and was not intended to do major damage.
MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities say a rudimentary or homemade explosive device was responsible for a tourist ferry blast that injured 26 people Feb. 21 in the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen.
The Feb. 21 explosion ripped through the upper section of the ferry as it was moored to the dock at Playa del Carmen, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the vessel.
Passengers had already unloaded after making the trip from the nearby resort island of Cozumel but were on the pier at the time. Twenty-six people, including American tourists, were injured — none seriously.
Video: Travel Warning Issued for Mexicos Playa Del Carmen Ahead of Spring Break
The federal Attorney Generals Office said via twitter that on Feb. 19 a person it did not identify went to the naval station on Cozumel to turn in a device consisting of a length of white PVC pipe containing cardboard tubes with cables connected to a black box.
US Embassy issues Mexico travel ban
As a result of the investigations, it can be concluded that the remnants of the explosive artifact (in the Feb. 21 incident) show similarity to the one discovered days earlier, and it is clear that it was a rudimentary or homemade artifact, the office said.
On March 2, another object said to be a possible bomb was found attached to the underside of a ferry belonging to the same company whose boat was bombed earlier. That vessel was anchored about 500 yards (meters) off Cozumel. There were no passengers aboard at the time, and authorities said it had been out of service for over 10 months.
Investigators are pursuing multiple lines of inquiry but have not made any arrests or advanced a definitive theory about a motive for the explosion.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has narrowed its travel warning for the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen amid what it calls an unspecified "ongoing security threat just as the spring holiday season is kicking into high gear.
In the wake of the ferry incidents, the U.S. Embassy barred U.S. government workers from taking ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel and warned American travelers to do the same.
Video: US bars employee travel to Mexican town after explosion on ferry boat
Mexico Ferry Explosion Caused By Homemade Explosive, Report Says
The embassy also put out a separate alert, which it said was based on a different, unspecified security threat, that prohibits U.S. government employees from traveling to five neighborhoods in and around a central tourist zone of Playa del Carmen. Several all-inclusive resorts outside that area are not off-limits, however.
Video: Drug cartel violence triggers security alert for Mexican resort town
With the spring holiday season kicking into high gear, Mexican authorities sought to reassure travelers that it is safe to visit the Caribbean resorts, a major tourist draw for the country.
Some 60 police officers and sniffer dogs have been deployed to guard the docks and ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
Federal Police Commissioner Manelich Castilla said 900 agents have been sent to patrol highways, airports and tourist facilities in Quintana Roo state, which is home to Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Cancun and Tulum.
State Department warns of security threat in Mexicos popular Playa del Carmen
He added that hotel occupancy is normal in the state, which receives 19 million visitors each year, half of them from abroad.
Federal prosecutors say there is no motivation for a terrorist group to have carried out an attack. They also believe criminal gangs would not have done it, knowing it would draw unwanted attention and increased security.
US narrows travel alert for Mexicos Playa del Carmen amidst spring break season
There have not been cancellations of reservations and … the beaches, without exception, are open without incident, Castilla said at the news conference.
Prosecutors said testing on the remnants of the device indicated it was a “rudimentary artifact” similar to one that an unidentified person brought to a naval station on Cozumel island two days earlier.
Also Sunday, soldiers and state and federal agents removed the local police force in Tlaquepaque, a large suburb of Guadalajara, Mexicos second city. Officials cited suspicions of infiltration by organized crime.
Tlaquepaque is known for its colorful, well-preserved colonial core and is a popular day trip for tourists staying in Guadalajara.
Jalisco state Gov. Aristoteles Sandoval announced that the Tlaquepaque police headquarters was seized in a morning operation along with weapons and other equipment. The local officers were sent to a police academy for evaluation and training and will be replaced for the time being by state authorities.
US Embassy in Mexico narrows travel alert for Playa del Carmen
Such interventions typically happen when a local police force is believed to be in league with drug cartels. Last month Jalisco authorities took over policing in the town of Tecalitlan, where three Italian men disappeared shortly after some sort of run-in with officers.
This represents a devastating blow against the insecurity afflicting the metropolis, Sandoval said on Twitter.
It must be said that the country is suffering from an unprecedented wave of violence. … Jalisco is not isolated from what the country is going through, he added.
Guadalajara is said to be the home base for the violent Jalisco New Generation cartel.
An earlier version of this story was corrected to show that the device involved in the explosion resembled one discovered two days earlier.
The scene of the at Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on February 21. (Tiffany Coffman/via REUTERS)
State Department warns about travel to Playa del Carmen
Investigators released new details Sunday about a tourist ferry blast in Mexico that injured 26 people — including several American citizens — Feb. 21 in the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen, one of the countrys most traveled regions for tourism.
Mexican authorities say a rudimentary or homemade explosive device was responsible. But Deputy Attorney General Arturo Elias Beltran said Sunday at a news conference that terrorism and organized crime have been ruled out.
Federal prosecutors said theres no motivation for a terrorist group to have carried out an attack. They added that they did not believe criminal gangs would have done it, knowing it would draw unwanted attention and increased security.
Prosecutors also say an object found attached to the underside of another ferry belonging to the same company, Barcos Caribe, later near Cozumel Island is a similar rudimentary artifact.
Emergency crews at the scene of the explosion at Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Periodico de Peso via REUTERS)
Although the U.S. Embassy in Mexico claimed it was separate from the ferry blast, the agency narrowed its travel warning for Playa del Carmen last week, as Fox News reported, amid what it called an unspecified ongoing security threat — just as the spring holiday season is kicking into high gear.
In a notice posted Friday on its website, the embassy said the U.S. Consular Agency in the city would reopen and resume normal operations Monday after a shutdown of several days — absent additional changes in the security situation.