Mayor in Mexico killed one day after inauguration

Nearly 100 elected officials in Mexico have been murdered by drug cartels over the last decade.
By Brooks Hays  |  Jan. 3, 2016 at 9:38 PM
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TEMIXCO, Mexico, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- On Friday, New Year's Day, Gisela Mota was sworn in as the new mayor of Temixco, a small Mexican town in the state of Morelos.

On Sunday, with flag's flying at half mast, the state's governor, Graco Ramirez, promised to bring Mota's killers to justice.

Just a day after Mota was inaugurated, she was slain -- shot in her home by a group of masked gunmen. Mota's bodyguards and police chased the assailants. The pursuit quickly turned into a gun battle. Two men were killed and the rest detained.

Javier Perez Duron, Morelos' attorney general, confirmed on Sunday that three suspected attackers were in custody and being questioned.

Governor Ramirez blamed Mota's death on organized crime, though he did not specify which gang or cartel was responsible.

The Mexican newspaper El Universal reported that the arrested suspects told authorities they had been paid $29,000 by Los Rojos drug gang to kill Mota.

Mota, a member of the left-leaning Democratic Revolutionary Party, campaigned on the promise to rid Temixco of the violence of the drug trade and the corrupt police and politicians who perpetuate and profit from it.

"I hope and pray to God that Gisela's death helps to make us all more conscious [of the crime problem]," Roman Catholic Bishop Ramon Castro said at a memorial for Mota. "I'm no expert, but the only thing I see is that various communities here are in the hands of organized crime -- I've been saying that for a while, and begging, and no one has been able to do anything."

Nearly 100 elected officials in Mexico have been murdered by drug cartels over the last decade. Thousands more civilians have perished.

A motive in Mota's slaying is unclear, but experts believe her murder was likely intended as a warning to other politicians -- specially mayors -- promising to crack down on organized crime.

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