A former Red Deer councillor has made it back to Canada after being stuck in Mexico amid cartel violence.
Jeffrey Dawson and his wife Bev were originally scheduled to fly home on Friday after staying at a Mexican resort. But all departing guests were told no planes would be leaving the Mazatlan airport.
“We were literally getting ready to go on the bus to head to the airport when they told us they cancelled the flights,” Dawson recalled.
Fortunately, the married couple were able to get on a plane Saturday evening and return home.
“At 3 o’clock in the morning I got an email from Sunwing giving us a departure time,” said Dawson.
“We went to the morning briefing and they said everyone was going home today – there were five plane loads of us there.”
Dawson said there was no mention online of the flights being scheduled to depart the airport.
“They never did show up on the flight tracker or the website for the Mazatlan airport, so I don’t know if they purposefully concealed the fact that they were coming to get us or if it was considered a chartered flight so it didn’t show up on the tracking,” Dawson said.
“Everything went smoothly. They took us a different route to the airport. When we arrived, we were on a highway all the way from the airport to the resort. They took us through the city on the way to the airport this time. It was about 30 minutes coming to the resort and about 45 minutes going to the airport.”
Dawson said he and his wife didn’t see any smoke or fire throughout their stay at the resort, which was located about 10 minutes away from the City of Mazatlan.
The Canadian Press reported alleged cartel members were carjacking residents and settling vehicles ablaze as roadblocks over the arrest of alleged drug trafficker Ovidio (The Mouse) Guzman, a son of former cartel boss Joaquin (El Chappo) Guzman.
“We were a fairly far distance from where the stuff took place. We didn’t see anything, we didn’t hear anything. If it wasn’t for the fact that people started texting us, asking if we’re OK, we wouldn’t have even known anything happened,” he said.
The only odd sight Dawson spotted was on Thursday when armed guards were stationed at the resort’s gate.
“Every time we had come and gone, there were guards at the gate standing there and checking to make sure people were allowed to come in. But on Thursday, they had the gates closed and there were people there armed with semi-automatic rifles. That was before we had any indication there was a problem,” he said.