CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A man’s decapitated body was found on Wednesday morning near the house of a candidate for mayor of this Mexican border city, Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office spokesmen said.
Several passersby spotted the body, which had been stuffed into trash bags, around 7:00 a.m. lying on the pavement in front of the residence of Hector Murguia Lardizabal, candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
The man’s head was wrapped in duct tape and left next to the body.
Officials did not reveal whether a message was left with the body, but they said the victim was barefoot and his hands had been bound behind his back.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, is located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The Sinaloa drug cartel, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, has been battling Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’s Juarez cartel for control of smuggling routes around the border city.
Press reports say the Sinaloa organization, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug cartel, has effectively taken control of Juarez.
Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,635 last year.
The death toll for this year currently stands at more than 1,200.
The gruesome find in Juarez followed word that the brother of slain PRI gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantu has been proposed as his replacement by party leaders ahead of next Sunday’s election in Tamaulipas state.
Egidio Torre Cantu would replace his brother, who was killed along with four other people on Monday, as the standard-bearer of the Todos Tamaulipas (We Are All Tamaulipas) coalition.
Polls showed the coalition, which is made up of the PRI, the Green Party and the New Alliance Party, or PANAL, leading ahead of the July 4 election.
The PRI’s National Executive Committee must approve Egidio Torre Cantu’s candidacy for the governorship of the northeastern state, the party’s spokesman in Tamaulipas, Jorge Vela, said.
Egidio Torre Cantu served as interim mayor of Victoria from September 2000 to December 2001.
The politician called on the more than 10,000 people who gathered Tuesday to pay tribute to his brother to not allow Rodolfo’s dream to be interrupted.
“Let’s all give our best effort and more to achieve the Tamaulipas we all want and the Mexico we all want,” Egidio Torre Cantu said.
The PRI on Tuesday called on the federal government to investigate the gubernatorial candidate’s killing quickly and thoroughly.
“More than statements, we demand a fast and sure investigation that finds the guilty; the PRI and the people demand results,” PRI leader Beatriz Paredes said.
Some politicians had urged officials to cancel the election, but the state elections commission announced that the voting go on as scheduled.
The election will take place as scheduled and political parties should continue their activities “to allow Tamaulipas residents to express themselves democratically at the polls,” state elections commission chairman Jorge Luis Navarro said.
State legislator Enrique Blackmore Smer and bodyguards Luis Gerardo Sotero, Ruben Lopez Zuñiga and Francisco David Lopez Catache were killed along with Torre Cantu as they headed to the airport in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital.
The candidate’s private secretary, Alejandro Martinez, and brother-in-law, Enrique de la Garza Montoto, as well as bodyguards Aurelio Balleza and Dante Quiroz, were wounded.
The gunmen who attacked the campaign vehicles were armed with large-caliber weapons, prosecutors said.
The two vehicles carrying the candidate’s party were hit by gunfire at around 11:00 a.m. Monday on the highway that links Ciudad Victoria with Soto la Marina, which is close to the airport.
Torre Cantu was heading to the airport to catch a flight to the border city of Matamoros, where he was scheduled to take part in a series of campaign events ahead of the election.
The 46-year-old Torre Cantu, a physician, was vying to replace Gov. Eugenio Hernandez.
Tamaulipas is one of 12 states where voters will go to the polls next Sunday to elect governors, mayors, councilors and state lawmakers. EFE