Friday, January 7, 2011
Missing Mexican mayor found slain
The missing mayor of a town in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila was found murdered Friday alongside a road in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon, authorities in that jurisdiction told Efe.
Zaragoza Mayor Saul Vara Ribera had been missing since Wednesday.
His death brings to 14 the number of mayors slain in Mexico since Jan. 1, 2010.
Vara was identified by a "credential he carried in his clothes," Nuevo Leon security office spokesman Pablo Gamez said, adding that preliminary reports indicate the mayor was killed with a gunshot to the head.
Forensic experts from the Nuevo Leon Attorney General's Office were sent to the scene to begin the investigation, Gamez said.
The body was found hours after the Coahuila AG's office announced that Vara was missing.
The mayor's family last heard from Vara on Wednesday as he was driving from Zaragoza to Saltillo, the state capital, for a political event.
Subsequent enquiries determined that Vara made it to the event in Saltillo, disappearing afterward, officials in Coahuila said.
Authorities blame the killings of mayors on drug cartels that are battling each other to control smuggling and distribution routes in Mexico's northern border states.
Conflict among cartels and between the gangs and Mexican security forces has claimed more than 30,000 lives in the past four years.