Justice in Mexico

Mayor of Tancítaro, Michoacán, murdered

09/28/10 – Gustavo Sánchez Cervantes, who was named president of the Tancítaro City Council (presidente del Concejo Municipal de Tancítaro) last December after the local government resigned under pressure from organized crime, was murdered along with his secretary, Councilman Rafael Equihua. Their bodies were found around 10:30 on Monday near the town of Angahua in a ditch off of the Uruapan-Los Reyes highway. Ten meters away authorities found the white Lobo pick-up they were traveling in. The hands of both men were tied, and both showed signs of being stoned to death.

According to the Ministerial Police of Michoacán  (Policía Ministerial), Cervantes and Equihua died after the killers let rocks, up to 44 lbs, fall on their heads. Authorities sustain that there are no indications that the crime is related to drug trafficking despite Tacíntaro being one of the operating grounds for the Familia Michoacana drug cartel. Reports from family members placed both men missing since Saturday.

Sánchez’s was previously a high school teacher. He had never had any military experience but took office in December of 2009, when the local Congress named Gustavo Sánchez as coordinator of the Tancítaro City Council after the local government – mayor, syndicate, and council – gave up its power in light of threats made by criminal organizations. He had been in office less than eleven months. In January, Sánchez dismissed 60 municipal police officers for irregularities in their institution. According to the online news source, ABC International, he is the eleventh mayor who has been murdered in Mexico this year.

EP. “ Asesinan a pedradas a un alcalde en México, el undécimo este año.” ABC International. 18 Septiembre, 2010.
Agencia Reforma. “Torturan y matan a otro edil, ahora en Michoacán.” El Diario. 28 Septiembre, 2010.
Castillo, Elly. “Matan a pedradas a alcalde y a concejal de Tancítaro.” El Universal. 28 Septiembre, 2010.

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