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Wife Of Former DEA Agent Killed In Cartel Shootout In Mexico

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“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

An American woman who was killed by a stray bullet during a gun battle between warring drug dealers in Tulum earlier this month had relocated to Mexico because she was worried about crime in her native Los Angeles, according to her husband.

Karl Perman, a former DEA agent, told Fox News Digital that he and his wife of nearly 15 years, 44-year-old Niko Honarbakhsh, had been splitting their time between their home in Beverly Hills and their condominium in Cancun over the past five years.

“We were aware of the State Department advisory and we were aware of … reportings of crime in this area [of Mexico]. But honestly, our opinion was, take a look at Los Angeles,” Perman told the outlet last week. “So, actually, I feel many times, depending upon the neighborhood, safer in Cancun than I do in Los Angeles.”

Former DEA agent Karl Perman (right) said his slain wife, Niko Honarbakhsh (left), had been concerned about the crime rate in her native Los Angeles. 

Honarbakhsh, 44, was killed by stray bullets during a shootout between rival drug dealers in Tulum, Mexico. 

Honarbakhsh was shot dead at a beach club in Tulum on Feb. 9. Facebook / Mia Restaurant & Beach Club

The State Department’s travel advisory issued last year for the state of Quintana Roo, which is home to both Cancun and Tulum — where Honarbakhsh was shot dead at a beach club on Feb. 9 — urges Americans to “exercise increased caution due to crime.”

“Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations,” the advisory warns. “Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations. While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have injured innocent bystanders.”

Perman, who works in the private energy sector and is often away on business, said his wife felt safer living in Cancun and was more worried about violence when she stayed in Los Angeles, especially after a harrowing close call last summer.

Honarbakhsh had been enjoying a solo getaway while her husband was away on business when she was killed. 

The grieving husband recounted how Honarbakhsh called him while he was away on business and said she was being chased by a knife-wielding maniac while walking their two dogs, Coco and Skylar, on the University of California at Los Angeles campus.

Honarbakhsh escaped unharmed and was able to call the police.

Earlier this month, Perman had been traveling for work to Florida, while his wife decided to drive from their condo in Cancun to the popular resort town of Tulum about two hours away and stay at an Airbnb for a short getaway with her dogs.

Perman said on Feb. 9, he was on his way to Mexico via Dallas, when he got a call from a friend saying he heard that an American woman matching his wife’s description had been shot at the Mia Beach Club in Tulum.

Perman said last summer, his wife was chased by a knife-wielding man while walking their two dogs, pictured on the UCLA campus. 

Perman and his glamorous wife had been married for nearly 15 years.

By the time he reached Tulum, the local police headquarters and the morgue had closed for the night, so he headed to the beachside crime scene.

A security guard let him in and Perman said he saw his wife’s hat and their dogs’ vests discarded in the sand. He also found the family car in the beach club’s parking lot.

After speaking to the guard and reviewing security footage that captured the deadly incident, Perman said, he was able to piece together what happened.

The video reportedly showed an alleged drug dealer arriving at the club, spotting a rival and opening fire at him. A chase and a shootout followed, during which two stray bullets struck Honarbakhsh.

One of the alleged drug dealers, a citizen of Belize, was also killed. He was found to be in possession of cocaine and pills.’

Three weeks after her death, Honarbakhsh’s killers still have not been apprehended. 

Quintana Roo prosecutors said Honarbakhsh was caught in the crossfire and had no connection to any illicit activity, contrary to a local report falsely claiming that she was romantically involved with the slain man.

A trio of suspects in the shooting had been identified, but none of them has been arrested so far.

Perman lashed out at the Mexican authorities’ response to his wife’s killing.

“The main thing was nobody was helpful at all, at any level, until I actually, you know, kind of stood in their station demanding assistance and then making calls,” Perman said. “The main thing is I just want people to be aware that you kinda gotta use your own voice and make it heard.”

Perman also bristled at having to defend his wife’s reputation in the face of baseless rumors claiming that she was not a US citizen and had been dealing drugs around Tulum for several months.

“It seems like every time there’s an American that’s killed here, the spin is they were doing something wrong,” the widower said.

Fox News  New York Post


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