The National Action Party, or PAN, mayoral candidate in the northern Mexican city of Anahuac, Eduardo Campos Espinoza, survived an assassination attempt last week, the city’s current mayor said.
The attack occurred just after 2:00 p.m. Friday, but information about the incident was not released to the public until party officials were told this week, Anahuac Mayor Santos Javier Garza, who also belongs to the PAN, said.
“Yes, there was something like that. I don’t have much in the way of details because everything has been handled with much discretion by the (Nuevo Leon) State Investigations Agency. They are the ones handling the investigation. All I can say is that he is safe and sound,” said Garza.
The attack on the mayoral candidate’s house has been blamed on the Los Zetas drug cartel and was aimed at intimidating him for refusing to meet with them, a Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office source said.
“What we’ve been told is that the criminals had been looking for the candidate to have a meeting and since he refused they opened fire on the front of his house, and they later poured fuel and started a fire, but it did not spread. The house was empty at the time of the attack,” said the AG’s office.
The PAN has not provided any information about the attack, but media reports said Campos Espinoza pulled out of the race.
Anahuac is a city of 23,000 in a rural section of Nuevo Leon, which borders the United States.
Several violent incidents have occurred in Anahuac, including a shootout between army troops and gunmen that left Zetas boss Francisco Medina Mejia dead on April 4.
Medina Mejia was the suspected intellectual author of the arson attack that killed 52 people at the Casino Royale in Monterrey on Aug. 25, 2011.
A total of 25 Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, mayoral candidates have dropped out of races in Nuevo Leon due to harassment from drug traffickers, State Human Rights Commission representative Eduardo Arguijo said.
The Nuevo Leon State Human Rights Commission and the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, consider the state a “difficult” area to organize the electoral process that will culminate with the July 1 presidential election.
Nuevo Leon has been battered by a wave of drug-related violence in recent years blamed on a turf war between Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The wave of drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon claimed the lives of 2,003 people in 2011, official figures show.