Mexico City – The Los Zetas drug cartel is suspected in the kidnapping and murder of a city mayor and a prominent rancher in western Mexico, Zacatecas state Attorney General Arturo Nahle Garcia told Efe Thursday.
Fortino Cortes, mayor of Florencia de Benito Juarez, and Gilberto Perez Escobedo, treasurer of the regional ranchers association, were abducted Wednesday in Zacatecas city, the state capital.
The men were found dead Thursday in Huejucar, a town in the neighboring state of Jalisco, Nahle said.
Bound hand-and-foot and blindfolded, the victims were accompanied by a message accusing them of acting as informants for the Gulf drug cartel, Los Zetas' main rival.
The bodies were identified by the Cortes and Perez Escobedo families, Nahle said, adding that the federal AG's office will lead the investigation because of the apparent involvement of organized crime.
Cortes and Perez Escobedo were taking part in a meeting at the offices of the Regional Ranching Union in Zacatecas city when armed men burst in and grabbed them.
Florencia de Benito Juarez, a town of some 2,700 residents, has witnessed a number of clashes between warring criminal outfits, including a May 20 shootout that left 13 dead, one of them Cortes' brother.
A score of Mexican mayors have been murdered by organized crime elements over the last 19 months amid an ongoing drug war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives since the end of 2006.