Riviera Maya Gang Leader’s Case Reaches the Court

Romania’s Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) authorized the prosecution of Florian Tudor, the suspected leader of an organized criminal network that stole over a billion dollars by compromising ATMs in tourist spots across Mexico.

Riviera MayaRomanian authorities proceed with the prosecution of Florian Tudor, leader of the Riviera Maya Gang, while he remains in a maximum security jail in Mexico. (Photo: OCCRP)According to DIICOT, the case was submitted to the Bucharest Prahova Court after an indictment was issued last week against the leader of the so-called Riviera Maya Gang – Tudor. He faces charges of creating an organized criminal gang, inciting attempted murder, blackmail, and incitement to blackmail.

While Romanian authorities pursue the case, the main suspect Tudor, also known as “The Shark,” remains in Mexico. He was caught in May 2021 and has been held in a high-security jail since. Although apprehended on a Romanian warrant, his attorneys have so far been successful in preventing his extradition.

The indictment alleges that Tudor, as the leader of the criminal group, “instigated the members of the group to kill a person” in Cancún in 2018. The target was his former bodyguard and right-hand Sorinel Marcu, who received multiple stabs as a result of a fight over money and jealousy.

He is also accused of instructing his subordinates in 2017 to blackmail three other people, frequently using violence, in order to acquire various assets in Romania. Additionally, Tudor is accused of encouraging a former gang member to resume his illegal operations in Mexico.

In March 2021, a Bucharest court convicted six members of the Riviera Maya Gang to jail sentences ranging from three to 10 years for attempted murder, extortion, and the formation of a criminal organization committed to large-scale bank card cloning in Mexico.

OCCRP, Quinto Elemento Lab, Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI), and Rise Project published an investigation in 2020 that revealed the operations of Tudor’s gang.

The group, which established its headquarters in Cancún, cloned credit and debit cards in compromised ATMs across the country, allegedly funneling the money into real estate in Mexico and Romania through companies they controlled.