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Gunmen Kill Senior Mexican Anti-Drug Official

Gunmen in Mexico City on Thursday killed the head of the federal Attorney General's anti-drug office, Mario Roldan Quirino, firing more than 20 shots into his vehicle. The attack took place one day after a meeting between high-ranking U.S. and Mexican officials involved in the drug war.

Police investigators on the scene, in the southern section of the city known as Tlalpan, found more than 40 spent shells on the street near where Mr. Roldan's vehicle crashed into a curb. One of the back tires had been destroyed and there were more than 20 bullet holes in the windows and side panels of the automobile.

The 31-year-old law enforcement official was declared dead on the scene. Investigators say there were more than 10 visible wounds in the victim's head and upper body.

Tlalpan's chief police investigator, Ariel Vasquez, said Mexico City investigators are working with evidence from the scene. He said the results of the preliminary analysis of evidence will determine where the investigation proceeds.

Since the murder occurred in Mexico City, the city police are the ones who are authorized to conduct the investigation, although elements of the federal Attorney General's office are expected to assist.

Just one day before the murder of this high-ranking official, Mexican Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha hosted meetings with the director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Asa Hutchinson, here in Mexico City.

Much of the focus at their joint news conference was on the effort to capture the Arellano Felix brothers, who operate drug smuggling operations out of the city of Tijuana. Both brothers, Ramon and Benjamin, have been charged with drug trafficking and related crimes in the United States. Since 1997, Ramon has been on the ten-most wanted list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Some commentators in the Mexican media are speculating that the murder of Mr. Roldan may have been a message from the Arellano Felix gang or some other drug smuggling organization. In his job, Mr. Roldan was in charge of investigating these groups.