Riviera Maya Gang Members Sent to Prison in Romania

Published: 18 March 2023

Riviera MayaRiviera Maya gang, a criminal organization that stole more than a billion dollars by compromising ATMs across Mexican tourist destinations. (Photo: OCCRP)

By Attila Biro

A court in Romania sentenced on Friday three members of an organized crime group to more than a decade in prison each for skimming ATM machines and stealing millions from people’s credit cards as well as trying to kill a former gang member.

The violent, murderous Riviera Maya gang was set up by Florian Tudor, aka The Shark, and is believed to have compromised up to 100 ATM machines along Mexico's Riviera Maya, including tourist hotspots like Cancun, Sayulita, Puerto Vallarta, and Tijuana, to steal credit card details from tourists and withdraw money from their accounts.

The panel of two judges of the Court of Appeal in Bucharest noted that Gabi - Alin Poenaru, called "Patrian," Răzvan - Alin Ghiță and Mihai - Adrian Mincă, called "Piciu," were members of that group and - coordinated by Tudor - tried to kill a former gang member but only injured him.

The three stabbed Sorinel Marcu, a former close associate of Tudor, in April 2018 in front of a Cancun DHL office. Marcu survived the attack but was killed a few months later outside Tudor's villa in Cancun. His murder is being investigated in a separate case.

Tudor was arrested in Cancun in 2021 on a warrant issued by Romania, but his lawyers have so far managed to prevent his extradition. He is accused of extortion, incitement to attempted murder, and establishing an organized criminal group.