The chief of police in the western Mexican town of Santiago Tangamandapio was found murdered Thursday, a spokesman for the Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office told Efe.
The body of Jorge Nuñez Espinoza was discovered by passersby shortly before 8:00 a.m. lying next to his official vehicle in rural spot known as Potrero Viejo.
Nuñez, who went missing Wednesday night, was shot once in the head and three times in the chest, according to the AG’s office spokesman, who said investigators think the chief was “executed on the spot.”
Press accounts identified Nuñez as the third municipal police chief slain so far this year in Michoacan.
The same accounts mention the appearance in Michoacan’s major cities of signs proclaiming the emergence of a new gang calling itself the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), which claims to be the heir to La Familia Michoacana, a multifaceted crime organization that ostensibly demobilized.
La Familia, infamous for decapitating and dismembering enemies and for its brazen attacks on the security forces, dominates the production of synthetic drugs such as crystal meth and also engages in kidnapping, extortion and other rackets.
Separately, six men and a woman died in drug-related violence in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.
Violence spiked in the area this week following the arrest of Benjamin Flores Reyes, a reputed leader of the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco.
Flores Reyes, who lived in the United States for more than 15 years and studied criminal psychology, was arrested on Sunday along with six accomplices.
Drug-related violence has hurt tourism in Acapulco, a popular destination for vacationing Mexicans and American college students on spring break.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 35,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.