Two northern Mexican police chiefs shot and killed |

Two northern Mexican police chiefs shot and killed

Associated Press Writer

MONTERREY, Mexico – The police chief of a wealthy suburb of this bustling industrial city was gunned down Monday, hours after the top police official of another northern Mexican community was kidnapped and shot dead.It wasn’t clear if the killings were related, but authorities say violence has spiked in Mexico’s northeast border region since the 2003 arrest of the area’s top reputed drug dealer set of a turf war for control of smuggling routes across the border.Hector Ayala, chief of police for the exclusive town of San Pedro Garza Garcia, was driving in nearby Monterrey, whose sprawling metro area is Mexico’s third largest, when a car overtook his vehicle and opened fire.That killing came four hours after the shooting death of Javier Garcia, who was named police chief two weeks ago in the town of Sabinas Hidalgo, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the U.S. border at Laredo, Texas.Garcia had been arriving to city hall when he was intercepted and driven off by an unknown number of armed assailants in at least two cars, police said.Minutes after the abduction, investigators found his body next to a highway outside Sabinas Hidalgo, a farming town of about 30,000. He had been shot in the back of the head and had his hands tied behind his back, according to police.Garcia took over as Sabinas Hidalgo’s top police officer last month, after his predecessor stepped down to join the political campaign of a local mayoral hopeful.Last week a state investigator was killed in Monterrey in an apparent road rage incident, but Garcia’s slaying was the first attack of its kind in recent memory against an official in Sabinas Hidalgo.The killings conjured up images of the June slaying of Alejandro Dominguez, who died in a hail of gunfire eight hours after taking over as the police chief of Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo.Ayala, 43, had been a state investigator for Nuevo Leon state, where San Pedro Garza Garcia and Sabinas Hidalgo are located.State prosecutor Luis Trevino said investigators had made no arrests and were still trying to determine a motive for the killings. He said neither police chief had reported receiving threats.”We have to base our investigation on reality and at his point we can not say whether either attack is linked to organized crime,” Trevino told reporters.Trevino said investigators were already collecting videotapes from surveillance cameras along the street where Ayala was killed.Violence in this area has been on the rise since 2003, when reputed drug lord Osiel Cardenas was arrested during a shootout in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas.Authorities say the violence has intensified as another accused drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has been fighting smugglers loyal to Cardenas to gain access to drug smuggling routes in Nuevo Laredo and other border cities.Vail, Colorado

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