Mexican Mayor Becomes 11th City Chief Killed in 2010

An interim mayor of the Mexican town of Tancitaro in Michoacan state became the country’s 11th city chief killed this year, and may have been stoned to death.

State officials were conducting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death after Gustavo Sanchez’s corpse was found on a road in the Michoacan city of Uruapan, said an official at the state attorney general’s office who can’t be identified because of the agency’s policies. He said there were signs the victim may have been killed with rocks.

The official didn’t say whether there had been any arrests in the case or say who may have been responsible.

Sanchez became interim mayor in December 2009 after the town’s elected mayor resigned due to intimidation from organized crime groups, newspaper Milenio reported on its website.

Sanchez was the third Mexican city leader to be attacked in the past five days. The mayor-elect of Gran Morelos, Chihuahua, was shot and injured as he worked at his veterinary office on Sept. 24, and the mayor of the town of Doctor Gonzalez in Nuevo Leon state was killed Sept. 23.

Targeting of public officials in Mexico is rising as deaths related to drug trafficking this year are on pace to reach their highest level since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006. At least 28,000 people have been killed during Calderon’s administration in violence tied to organized crime.

The number of deaths related to criminal groups totaled about 4,250 in the second quarter, an 85 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, according to figures from a government report released in July.

Sanchez was an elementary school teacher and didn’t belong to a political party, newspaper El Universal reported. His personal assistant Rafael Equihua was also killed, the newspaper said.

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