VERACRUZ, Mexico – The mayor of Tlacojalpan, a city in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, was kidnapped over the weekend and her whereabouts is unknown, a National Action Party, or PAN, representative said.
Marisol Mora Cuevas has not been heard from since Sunday, when gunmen apparently kidnapped her from her house, PAN presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota’s spokesperson in Veracruz, Julen Rementeria, said.
The PAN is calling on authorities to investigate the mayor’s disappearance, Rementeria said.
“At this time, because of the few hours that have gone by, we cannot make additional comments, we will have to wait for the corresponding investigation,” Rementeria said.
Mora Cuevas is the second sitting mayor of a Veracruz city reported missing.
Tampico Alto Mayor Saturnino Valdes Llanos disappeared in February 2011 while traveling in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, one of the most violent regions in Mexico.
Tlacojalpan, a city of just over 5,000 people, is in southern Veracruz’s Papaloapan Basin region, near the border with Oaxaca state.
The Los Zetas and Familia Michoacana drug cartels have been fighting for control of the farming and ranching region.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing over the past 18 months.
The federal government launched “Operation Safe Veracruz” last October in an effort to stem the wave of drug-related violence in the Gulf state.
On June 12, police found the remains of 14 people stuffed into an abandoned SUV on the Alamo-Potrero del Llano state highway near Los Cuates, a ranch in northern Veracruz close to the border with Tamaulipas.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in the state.
Veracruz, Mexico’s third-most populous state, is coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.
President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The death toll in Mexico’s drug war stands at more than 50,000 since 2006. EFE