Mexican Army troops have arrested three suspected drug cartel operatives in the weekend killing of one of the highest ranking officers in the country’s navy.
Mexican Navy Vice Adm. Carlos Miguel Salazar Ramonet was off duty Sunday and returning from Mexico City to the naval base he commands on Mexico’s Pacific coast near Puerto Vallarta when his vehicle was forced off the highway.
Salazar and his bodyguard were shot to death and his wife and driver were wounded, the Spanish EFE news service reported
The suspects are reportedly members of the Knights Templar drug cartel. The killing occurred in Michoacan state in western Mexico, where a half-dozen federal police convoys were ambushed last week.
The Associated Press quoted a reporter from a Michoacan newspaper who described how local “protesters” – forced or paid to do so by the Knights Templar –blocked a major highway while holding signs demanding that the military leave the area.
Salazar, determined to get back to his base, headed down a rural road in search of a shortcut where he was ambushed and killed.
“In a final act of heroism as gunmen sprayed the sport-utility vehicle, the admiral reportedly shoved his wife to the floorboards to protect her. She was able to escape with minor injuries. The driver was severely injured,” the Houston Chronicle observed
Salazar’s killing isn’t just another murder in a country where 70,000 have died in cartel-related violence during the past seven years. He “was a leader in the Navy, which has been Mexico’s most lethal weapon against the cartels, and [which] many considered the most respected branch of Mexico’s military and security forces,” the Chronicle added.
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