Mexican Mayor Kidnapped by Drug Hitmen Found Dead

MSNBC, August 18, 2010

Mexican security forces found the body of a mayor near Mexico’s northern industrial city of Monterrey on Wednesday after he was abducted by drug hitmen, according to reports.

Monterrey-based daily El Norte and local TV networks said Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the town Santiago on the outskirts of Monterrey, was found bound and dumped on a rural road.

Gunmen with automatic weapons burst into Cavazos’ home Sunday in Santiago, a colonial-era town that is a popular weekend destination, police and officials said.

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Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina said Cavazos was probably targeted for his efforts to clean up Santiago’s corrupt police force.

The abduction follows a spike in violence over the weekend in northern Mexico, where rival gangs are battling for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States.

‘Cleaning the house’

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Over the weekend, drug gangs set up over 40 roadblocks in Monterrey, parking trucks, cars and even an ambulance across roads in a bid to derail army anti-drug operations. Assailants also threw grenades at offices of Televisa, Mexico’s biggest broadcaster in Monterrey and in Tamaulipas state to the east. No major injuries were reported.

Since the beginning of the year, Monterrey and nearby towns like Santiago have been sucked into a bloody turf war between the Gulf cartel and a spin-off group called Zetas.

The surge in violence in Monterrey, Mexico’s most affluent city and home to some of the country’s biggest companies such as global cement maker Cemex, is a major worry as foreign companies question the safety of doing business there.

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