He and his assistant were seized yesterday in route to the airport; no ransom was demanded
The tranquil appearance of Tlaquepaque's popular shopping district gives no hint that organized crime operates at will in the historic town and its environs, just beyond Guadalajara's city limits
*Updated Sept. 25*
Gabriel Gómez Michel, a federal deputy who represented the state of Jalisco in Mexico's lower legislative chamber, the Camara de Diputados, was found murdered today in Apulco, Zacatecas.
Gómez Michel was kidnapped Monday afternoon in Tlaquepaque County, a world famous artisan community on the outskirts of Guadalajara, as he drove to the international airport here to take a return flight to Mexico City. His charred body was found inside a burned vehicle in neighboring Zacatecas state, a seedbed of drug cartel violence, early this morning.
Gómez, 49, was a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). A licensed medical doctor who specialized in pediatrics, he graduated from the University of Guadalajara in 1990. The Camara de Diputados where Gómez served is the equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Security camera videos from the scene of the kidnapping show an assault team brazenly intercepting Gómez's SUV as it traveled on the city's busy, multi-lane periferico (beltway). A well-coordinated team of heavily armed men descended and quickly seized the deputy and an assistant traveling with him. Investigators said a second body was also discovered in the abandoned vehicle in Apulco. That victim was later identified as Heriberto Núñez Campos, Gómez's political aide.
Luis Carlos Nájera told the press today, "the bodies are completely burned up, they're unrecognizable. We'll have to officially identify them by DNA."
Last week ago a national columnist reported Jalisco is one of two states that the PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto is most concerned about, due to incipient narco violence. Jalisco, Baja California top Mexico's "Red Alert" list. A Mexican media source reported today that in the last 18 months, more than 60 state officials have been murdered, all at the apparent hands of organized crime. One of those was the Jalisco Secretary of Tourism, who was chased down and assassinated while driving on a Guadalajara street in March 2013.
Since 2012 the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara has issued periodic security warnings to American citizens living in or visiting the city during episodes of drug cartel violence. The latest was on Jan. 30.
Asked to comment today on the state's security, Nájera replied, "Serious crime is on the decline in Jalisco." (Sept. 24 - Prosecutor Nájera ordered before state Congress, to explain crumbling security).
Sept. 26 - Mexico's angry Chamber of Deputies demands results in Gabriel Gómez investigation
Aug. 5, 2014 - Jalisco prosecutor: Matazetas are responsible for murder of Guadalajara area mayor
Apr. 23, 2013 - Guadalajara's mayor: "I'm worried about security"
PRI federal deputy Dr. Gabriel Gómez Michel was found dead today, less than 24 hours after he was seized on the city's beltway in route to the Guadalajara International Airport.
Sept. 25 update - In this security video outtake published today by Mexico City's El Universal, at least six vehicles are seen participating in the kidnapping of Gómez Michel and his congressional aide. The two men were originally traveling in vehicle # 1, but were spirited off to their place of execution - which is yet undetermined - in vehicle # 7.
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