World News

Gunmen kill public official in Mexican border city

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Gunmen have killed the police administrative director in the violent Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, the latest high-profile killing in Mexico’s drug war, police said on Wednesday.

Silvia Molina was shot outside her house on Monday night by suspected drug hitmen, the first public official in Ciudad Juarez’s city police force to be targeted.

“She was shot 10 times as she was parking her car,” a police spokesman said. Molina’s body was found with a message signed by suspected drug hitmen who said they were working for Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

Molina’s administrative team and the director of the city police academy resigned on Tuesday in protest at her murder, temporarily leaving the city police force without officials to pay salaries and deal with accounting issues.

About 460 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez this year -- the greatest concentration of drug killings in the country. Guzman’s drug gangs from northwestern Sinaloa state are battling the local Juarez cartel for control of smuggling routes to the United States. Ciudad Juarez is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in drug violence across Mexico this year, a much faster pace than in 2007, as an army-led crackdown increases pressure on rival drug gangs fighting for dominance.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed some 25,000 troops and federal police to combat the cartels since taking office in December 2006, but his campaign has not curbed violence.

About 500 police have been murdered since the drug offensive began, and in May, drug hitmen killed senior federal police chief Edgar Millan, who was in charge of drug investigations.

Reporting by Ignacio Alvarado