Anti-drug official is killed in Mexico

May 09, 2008|By Los Angeles Times

MEXICO CITY -- A top police official and national coordinator in Mexico's battle against drug trafficking and organized crime was assassinated inside his home before dawn yesterday.

Edgar Millan Gomez, 42, was the third-ranking member of Mexico's Public Safety Secretariat, which oversees law enforcement. Two other high-ranking federal security officials have been shot in the past week in Mexico City.

A college-educated professional with 20 years of law enforcement experience, Millan Gomez was the kind of man that President Felipe Calderon is counting on to rebuild Mexico's tarnished and ineffective police forces.

He was shot eight times after arriving home from work about 2:30 a.m. Two bodyguards were wounded in the incident.

Police sources told the newspaper El Universal that the so-called Sinaloa Cartel was believed to be behind the attack. The cartel is one of several organized crime groups that have grown rich transporting Colombian cocaine, locally manufactured methamphetamines and other illicit drugs to the United States.

On May 1, Millan Gomez held a news conference in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, to announce that 12 suspected hit men working for the Sinaloa cartel had been detained after a shootout with police and army soldiers.

At the time of his death, Millan Gomez was acting director of Mexico's Federal Preventive Police, one branch of the nation's police forces.

"This morning, Mexico lost one of its most valuable men, a security professional who placed himself at the service of his country," said Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna.

Bodyguards arrested Alejandro Ramirez, 34, at the scene. He was wearing latex gloves and was armed with a handgun equipped with a silencer.

Officials said Ramirez has served two prison sentences for armed robbery. They released a picture of the suspect taken moments after his arrest, showing a man drenched in sweat, a bandage over the corner of one eye.

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