Photo: Arturo Alejandro Ramos
The leader of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in Nuevo Urecho, a city in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, was gunned down by hitmen suspected of being on the payroll of a drug cartel, state prosecutors said.
Arturo Alejandro Ramos was walking down a street Friday night in Zuracuaretiro, a city next to Nuevo Urecho, when he was shot, the Michoacan Attorney General’s Office said.
The 50-year-old politician may have been shot by members of Los Caballeros Templarios, a drug cartel that operates across Michoacan, investigators said.
Salvador Vega Ramirez, the PRI’s leader in the city of Erongaricuaro, was murdered on June 5.
Vega Ramirez was led away from his shoe repair shop by a group of masked men armed with assault rifles.
The politician’s bullet-riddled body was found on the side of the Erongaricuaro-Patzcuaro state highway.
Vega Ramirez’s killers have not been identified, the AG’s office said.
The federal government deployed soldiers and police in Michoacan on Jan. 13 in an effort to end the wave of drug-related violence blamed on the Caballeros Templarios.
Federal security forces killed the cartel’s two top leaders, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez and Enrique Plancarte Solis, in February and March, respectively.
Moreno and other members of the Familia Michoacana gang formed the Caballeros Templarios organization after he was reported killed by the government in 2010.
The Caballeros Templarios cartel, which deals in both synthetic and natural drugs, commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies in Michoacan.
Residents in several towns and cities formed vigilante groups in February 2013 to fight the Caballeros Templarios.