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Mexican fisheries leader shot dead after denouncing illegal fishing, drug cartel extortion

A Mexican fisheries industry leader, who denounced illegal fishing and drug cartel extortion, was shot to death Monday a few blocks from her office in Ensenada. The state prosecutor in Baja California called Minerva Pérez Castro's death a direct assassination attack. File Photo by Ken Eckert/Wikimedia
A Mexican fisheries industry leader, who denounced illegal fishing and drug cartel extortion, was shot to death Monday a few blocks from her office in Ensenada. The state prosecutor in Baja California called Minerva Pérez Castro's death a direct assassination attack. File Photo by Ken Eckert/Wikimedia

July 10 (UPI) -- A Mexican fisheries industry leader, who denounced illegal fishing and drug cartel extortion, was shot to death this week in Baja California, authorities revealed Tuesday.

Minerva Pérez Castro, who was the president of Mexico's National Chamber of Fisheries and Aquaculture Industries, was killed Monday by unidentified gunmen a few blocks from her office in Ensenada.

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State prosecutor Maria Elena Andrade described Pérez Castro's murder as a "direct assassination attack" that "riddled the victim with several gunshot wounds," as she vowed to investigate any links to the fishing industry.

"We are very strong on the issues surrounding fishing activities," Andrade said. "We do not have any formal complaint about extortion payments."

Gov. Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda also condemned Pérez Castro's murder.

"I send my sincere condolences and my sympathies to the family of Minerva Pérez Castro. I am committed to working tirelessly so that what happened, does not go unpunished," Olmeda said in a statement.

"To Ensenada residents, I want to make them feel certain that we work in order to achieve a state one of safety and peace," the governor added.

Hours before her murder, Pérez Castro called out illegal fishing during an interview on En La Mira TV.

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Pérez Castro had spent several months slamming drug cartels, who she claimed were extorting protection payments from fishing boats and distributors for every pound of seafood sold.

"Illegally fished seafood goes to the same markets as legal seafood, but without the production costs," said Pérez Castro, who also called out a lack of adherence to environmental standards.

Andrade has instructed investigators to collect evidence from the crime scene and to work the case to the "fullest extent" to ensure justice for Pérez Castro.

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