How Niko Honarbakhsh died

How Niko Honarbakhsh died

Niko Honarbakhsh, wife of a former Drug Enforcement Administration special agent was shot dead when she was apparently caught in the crossfire of a drug cartel dispute in a luxury Mexican resort on Sunday.

Prosecutors have stressed that the woman, named as Niko Honarbakhsh, 44, had no connection to the dispute, which also killed a known local drug dealer named Shawn Billary, 22, who was from Belize, but confirmed her husband, Karl Perman’s, connection to the DEA.

ABC News reports that Honarbaksh was living in Cancun in Mexico at the time of her death.


Prosecutors denied reports in local media that the two may have been a couple, saying a photo of the Belizean man showed him with a completely different woman.

Prosecutors said the dead man had cocaine and pills in his possession when he was killed at the Mia Beach club, which is part of the Selina Hotel.


The Central American country of Belize shares a border with Mexico on the Caribbean coast.

El Universal reports that Billary was being chased by his killers and he sought refuge in the restaurant, where the fatal shots were fired.

The newspaper says that two people are in custody in relation to the shooting.


Officials have confirmed that Billary was a member of a drug gang. He was first named by Belize News Now who said in a report that he was a native of Belize City.

According to posts on her Instagram page, Honarbaksh, who went by Honar, divided her time between southern California and the Cancun area. She regularly posted photos from luxurious settings, including beach clubs and restaurants.

Online records show that she and her husband maintained a home in Beverly Hills. The couple also had ties to Chicago where Honar worked as a real estate agent for a time.


One witness wrote on TripAdvisor that he was in the restaurant when Billary ran in, followed by another man around 6:40 pm Sunday.

‘Some tourist on vacation with her 2 dogs, mere feet away from us was hit by some of the stray bullets and was killed,’ the man wrote.

He added that Billary was shot once in the back, which slowed him, prompting the gunman to walk over to him and open fire several more times, killing him.


‘Security at the Mia had no clue what was going on nor did they check on the 2 people shot. It was other beach guests that did.’

The people that worked there almost acted like it was no big deal, and gave none of us instructions like, get down, get off the beach….. none of them got on their radios calling for the police or backup,’ he wrote.


Another witness wrote that he thought it was fireworks when he heard the bangs, adding that the gunman ran right past him.

That witness said that Honar was preparing to pay her bill when she was hit.

He also said that staff at the hotel waited for several minutes before checking on her.

How Niko Honarbakhsh died
Niko Honarbakhsh

A third witness, also posting on TripAdvisor, said they were leaving when the commotion kicked off.

The poster, with the username Giandrea84, wrote: ‘I’m so sad to hear this. I was there all day and was about to leave when the shooting started.

‘I heard everything and saw some. I just run away the opposite side but there was so much confusion that no one knew what really happened.

‘I remember the lady with two dogs. She looked so happy during the day and the dogs were chilling out on the sand. When I read about what happened to her I felt incredibly sad. My thoughts are with the family.’

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