Palomas, Mexico, Mayor Estanislao Garcia Santelis – Kidnapped and Murdered By Drug Cartels

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Unidentified assailants kidnapped and killed the top official of the border town of Palomas, across from New Mexico, on Thursday.

Town Mayor Estanislao Garcia Santelis had long complained about the drug traffickers and migrant smugglers active around Palomas.

Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in northern Chihuahua state, said Garcia Santelis’ bullet-riddled body was found near a burned-out pickup truck and bore signs of torture.

The death of Mayor Estanislao García Santelis, 37, marks another violent chapter in the border region, where fighting among drug mafias, police and the military has left thousands dead this year, including elected officials and police officers, and turned thriving frontier towns like Palomas into no-go zones for U.S. visitors.

Palomas made headlines in 2008 when its police chief sought asylum in the U.S. after his deputies abandoned him and he received death threats. The Mexican army subsequently took over law enforcement in the tiny town.

Garcia Santelis gained notoriety when he led protests against high electricity rates. His success in that endeavor led to his election as Mayor.

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