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Mexico’s Mayors Getting Bumped Off in Drug War

Mexico border mapBy Anne-Marie O’Connor and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service

TANCITARO, Mexico – Gustavo Sanchez worked hard in this Mexican farming town at one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. He was a mayor. Last weekend, Sanchez and a town councilman disappeared. Their bodies were found Monday, the skulls smashed open in the fifth killing of a mayor in six weeks.

According to supporters at city hall, Sanchez was honest and brave. Less than a year ago, the 36-year-old schoolteacher and martial-arts instructor agreed to lead this prosperous western community after the previous mayor abruptly quit, citing threats by drug traffickers, and took the entire town council with him.

Sanchez’s short political career ended on the side of a muddy, lonely road, his handsome, mustachioed face unrecognizable. His mutilated colleague Rafael Equihua lay dead beside him.

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