Buenos Aires mayor Pablo Javkin is blaming uncurbed drug violence for an attack on a supermarket owned by Lionel Messi’s in-laws in the city of Rosario, located outside of the nation’s capital.
Nobody was harmed in the attack, but police say that two men on motorcycles pulled up outside Unico supermarket before firing “at least a dozen shots” into the store, before throwing a cardboard sign on the ground and driving away. The message was directed at soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and read:
“Messi, we’re waiting for you. Javkin is also a drug trafficker, so he won’t take care of you.”
It’s unclear what prompted the attack on Messi and his family. No statement has been issues by the player, who is currently in France where he is playing for Paris Saint-Germain. However, it’s scary situation given Messi’s family remains in Rosario, and he frequently visits during the offseason.
Once seen as a bastion of success is curbing drug related violence, Argentina has seen a surge in crime in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Rosario has been particularly hard hit, with a September 2022 article noting that the murder rate had risen to over four times that of Buenos Aires.
In addition, Argentina’s Public Safety Observatory (OSP) released a report noting that over 77 percent of violent deaths in the region had been planned, adding that murderers for hire were in high demand in Rosario.