CHIHUAHUA, Mexico – The woman leading the police department in the northern Mexican town of Meoqui was slain while driving to work, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said Monday.
Hermila Garcia was named last month as chief of the 90-strong police force in Meoqui, located 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Chihuahua city, the state capital.
Garcia was found fatally shot in her car at a spot near her home about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the town center, the AG’s office said.
Authorities suspect the police chief, whose prior experience included working as an investigator for the federal AG’s office, was murdered by gunmen working for drug traffickers or other organized crime elements.
Chihuahua, which borders Texas, has three other female police chiefs, including 20-year-old criminology student Marisol Valles, recently appointed the top law enforcement officer in Praxedis G. Guerrero.
Silvia Molina, the top administrative official of the police department in Ciudad Juarez, the state’s largest city, was murdered in 2008.
Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is Mexico’s murder capital, with more than 2,700 homicides so far this year and roughly 8,000 slain since the beginning of 2008.
The carnage is blamed on a bitter turf battle between rival drug cartels, itself part of a wider conflict involving the gangs and the Mexican security forces that has claimed nearly 30,000 lives nationwide over the past four years.
Chihuahua has accounted for around a third of all the drug war fatalities. EFE