Small-town mayor, assistant hacked to death in drug-plagued western Mexico state

Monday, September 27, 2010

Small-town mayor hacked to death in western Mexico

MORELIA, Mexico — Mexican authorities say a small-town mayor and his aide have been hacked to death by machete.

Tancitaro Mayor Guztavo Sanchez is the fifth mayor killed in Mexico since mid-August.

Michoacan state prosecutors’ spokesman Jonathan Arredondo says Sanchez and city adviser Rafael Equihua were found Monday inside a pickup truck on a dirt road near Uruapan.

Arredondo says the victims’ hands were bound and their faces had been hacked with a machete. He says police are trying to determine a possible motive.

In December, Tancitaro’s then-mayor and seven other officials resigned. They said they had been threatened by drug traffickers and police were not showing up to work.

Sanchez replaced the mayor who resigned.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Gunmen broke into a police complex in northern Mexico on Monday and stole at least 40 automatic rifles and 23 handguns, authorities said.

Chihuahua state police spokesman Fidel Banuelos said the assailants subdued several officers guarding the state police offices in Chihuahua city and forced them to show the way to the armory.

Banuelos said 10 officers who were in the building at the time are being questioned. He said it’s not clear whether the assailants are members of a drug cartel.

Also Monday, the Public Safety Department said it has captured a drug gang member who allegedly helped set up a car bomb that killed three people in Ciudad Juarez.

Suspect Jose Contreras allegedly killed a man and dressed him in a police uniform to lure federal agents to the area where the car bomb exploded, killing a federal police officer and a doctor who was helping the shooting victim.

Contreras is a member of La Linea gang, which works for the Juarez drug cartel, the department said in a statement.

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has become one of the world’s most dangerous cities amid a turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.

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