The refusal by Cuernavaca Mayor Cuauhtemoc Blanco, a one-time star with the Mexican national soccer team, to accept a unified command under the state police in his city is being driven by drug traffickers, Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez said Monday.

Ramirez signed an executive order imposing a unified police command in 15 cities that had been resisting the policy on Sunday, a day after Temixco Mayor Gisela Mota was murdered by hitmen.

Mota's killing "is a direct blow" against those who have decided to fight Mexico's drug cartels and their effects on society, the governor told Radio Formula.

Mota was a "clean, courageous and endearing" woman, Ramirez said, adding that the mayor died, in part, because she "let down her guard" by not accepting more security in a bid to differentiate herself from her predecessor.

Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, has refused to replace its local police department with a unified state command and Blanco was "very rude" when the matter came up in a recent conversation, Ramirez said.

"He's a testy person, without any political experience, offensive," the governor said.

Blanco, for his part, said Monday he was "afraid" of what might happen to him and blamed Ramirez for the situation.

Blanco, who retired in June 2015 after 23 years as a professional soccer player, was sworn in as Cuernavaca's mayor on New Year's Day and is the leader of one of the most violent cities in Mexico.

"I'm afraid that something is going to happen to my family and the people who are here with me, but I'm wearing the pants around here and we're going to continue with this thing," Blanco said. "If something happens to me or the people behind me, or my family, it's on you, governor," Blanco said.

The mayor said in a press conference that Cuernavaca's residents did not want a unified police command.

Cuernavaca is a popular vacation destination for Mexico City residents because of its proximity to the capital and good climate.

Blanco ranks No. 3 among the Mexican national soccer team's all-time scorers with 38 goals, trailing only Jared Borgetti and Javier Hernandez.

He is the only Mexican player to score a goal in all the World Cups in which he competed - France 1998, Korea-Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010. EFE