The prosecutor in charge of internal affairs at the Attorney General’s Office of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua and one of her bodyguards were shot dead in the border city of Juarez, state officials told Efe on Thursday.
Sandra Ivonne Salas was killed around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the northwestern section of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.
Salas’s slaying pushed the number of murders in Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, to 303 in June, making it the deadliest month of the year, state officials said.
The prosecutor, who was in charge of internal affairs, analysis and evaluation of operations at the AG’s office, was traveling with two bodyguards when she was attacked.
One of the bodyguards escaped unharmed.
Salas was responsible for evaluating the performance of AG’s office employees assigned to the special investigation units in the northern section of Ciudad Juarez.
Salas, moreover, was involved in the probe into the Feb. 4 killing of Carlos Soltero Cano, a 33-year-old AG’s office employee in charge of an anti-kidnapping unit.
A battle between rival drug cartels for control of the border city has unleashed a wave of violence that officials have been unable to stem.
The Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of smuggling routes around the border city.
Press reports say the Sinaloa organization, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug cartel, has effectively taken control of Juarez.
Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,635 last year.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.
The death toll for this year in Juarez currently stands at 1,391.
On Wednesday alone, 13 people, including Salas and her bodyguard, died in the border city in killings that appeared to be related to organized crime, bringing a bloody end to June.
Drug-related killings, according to Chihuahua AG’s office figures, totaled 227 in January, 163 in February, 240 in March, 205 in April and 253 in May.