The evening calm of Cabopino, east of Marbella, was shattered on Tuesday by the latest fatal shooting to hit the Costa del Sol.
In this week's attack, a 60-year-old French man was approached by two masked men as he got into his car in the area by Cabopino campsite, alongside the A-7 motorway, where there are also some popular restaurants.
A witness said that the attackers were waiting in a blue Renault Megane for the victim to come to his car. The Megane fled the scene immediately, driving up through Calahonda to the AP-7 toll road, where it crashed through the barrier. It was later found burning on a mountain road near Mijas Pueblo.
Dutch hitman sought
This is the fourth similar murder in the Mijas and Marbella area in just over a month. They are all believed to be linked to score-settling between rival drug gangs.
Investigators are looking for a known dangerous contract killer in relation to the Cabopino attack. The 29-year-old male has Dutch nationality, is about 1.8m tall, has an Arabic complexion and beard, and is very thin.
Police and authorities were quick to stress this week that the incidents in recent weeks are not related to each other and were not part of any single, organised campaign of violence. The government representative in Andalucía added that he wanted to be very clear that the Costa del Sol is "completely safe".
An invisible luxury lifestyle
Police unions have called for more resources and more officers on the beat to fight crime on the Costa. They say that the larger towns along the coast, such as Marbella and Estepona, have grown in size and need reinforcements.
Experts say that the area attracts drug gangs because of its proximity to trafficking routes from North Africa and the ability of the leaders to merge into the luxury lifestyle as tourists or expatriate residents.
Thefts cut out risks
Those with knowledge say the surge in attacks could be linked to the relatively new tendency of gangs stealing hauls from each other once these have been landed in Spain. This saves the risks of buying and transport. When a theft takes place, the gang that has lost out is keen to take revenge, leading to the killings.