Mexican city’s lone police officer kidnapped

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), Dec 28 (IANS/EFE) The only police officer in Guadalupe, a border town in northern Mexico, was kidnapped last week, authorities said.

Erika Gandara was abducted Thursday by gunmen from her house in the border city, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said.

The 28-year-old woman had been the town’s only police officer since June because no one else was willing to join the department for fear of being killed.

A police officer was murdered the week that Gandara joined the department in 2009.

Seven other officers resigned a few months later and the rest quit in June following the murder of Mayor Jesus Manuel Lara.

Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, home to around 9,000 people and located about five km from the US border, has been one of the Mexican cities worst hit by drug-related violence.

The city is in the Juarez Valley about 45 minutes from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.

Hundreds of civilians and dozens of police officers have been murdered in the city, where numerous houses have been torched by gunmen working for drug cartels.

A municipal official and her 17-year-old granddaughter were kidnapped Dec 19 after gunmen set fire to her house.

Five women are currently serving as the chiefs of police departments in Chihuahua.

Marisol Valles, a 20-year-old criminology student, became the police chief of the city of Praxedis G. Guerrero in October.

Gunmen murdered Hermila Garcia Nov 29 in Meoqui, a town about 70 km from Chihuahua city, the state capital, making her the first female police chief killed in Mexico.

Silvia Molina, who served as administrative director of the police department in Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, was murdered in 2008.

The border state of Chihuahua is Mexico’s most dangerous state.

The Sinaloa drug cartel, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, has been battling Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’s Juarez cartel for control of smuggling routes in the state.

The two cartels have been fighting for control of drug trafficking in Chihuahua’s biggest city, Ciudad Juarez, where more than 3,100 people have died this year in drug-related violence.


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