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3-year-old boy dies in Mexico shooting

Violence is rampant in border state by The Associated. Press | October 12, 2021 at 4:21 a.m.

MEXICO CITY -- Suspected drug cartel gunmen opened fire on a car in northern Mexico on Monday, killing a 3-year-old boy and wounding his parents, authorities said.

The father, who was driving in the city of Ciudad Obregon when the attack happened, managed to get to a hospital, where the toddler was pronounced dead, prosecutors in the border state of Sonora said. The gunmen escaped.

"It hurts us as a society when drug cartels take the lives of children," the state prosecutors' office said in a statement.

Sonora has been wracked by gang violence, including the killings of Indigenous people.

In recent weeks, DNA tests on skeletal remains found near an apparent drug cartel encampment confirmed that five of the remains belonged to some of seven missing men from Mexico's most-persecuted Indigenous group, the Yaquis. The Yaqui men were abducted in mid-July near Ciudad Obregon.

The state prosecutor's office has suggested that the murder of Yaqui leader Tomas Rojo Valencia in May was also the work of drug cartels or allied local gangs.

Separately, one of Mexico's most corrupt former officials was photographed dining out at a restaurant over the weekend, after the country's president has made punishing corruption the centerpiece of his agenda.

The photographs of Emilio Lozoya, the former head of the state-run oil company who is now a government witness in a corruption case involving allegations of hundreds of millions in bribes, came at a tense time.

Currently, Mexico's attorney general is trying to lock up 31 academics in a maximum-security prison because he claims they improperly received about $2.5 million in government science funding years ago. The laws at the time allowed such funding, and the researchers say it wasn't misspent.

Meanwhile, the attorney general hasn't managed to jail any of the top figures implicated in a corruption case at the state-run Pemex oil company that almost bankrupted it.

Mexico City security analyst Alejandro Hope was blunt about the uproar Monday: "The optics suck. They're horrible."

Even Lopez Obrador was angered by the photos of Lozoya in a Mexico City restaurant, although as a protected witness he is not confined to his home or under any form of arrest.

"I believe it is legal, but is immoral that these things happen. It is imprudent, at the very least," Lopez Obrador said. "That is why there is so much indignation at him eating at a luxury restaurant. Even though he can legally do so, he is a witness to acts of corruption that damaged Mexico a lot."

Lopez Obrador announced Monday that he will make his second trip outside the country to visit the United Nations on Nov. 9 to give a speech about the dangers of corruption.

Lozoya fled to Spain, was arrested there and extradited back to Mexico in 2020. He quickly decided to turn state's evidence and testify against other former officials in return for not going to jail himself.

Lozoya alleged that former President Enrique Pena Nieto and his right-hand man, then-Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray, directed him to bribe lawmakers including five senators to support energy and other structural changes in 2013 and 2014.

Lozoya also faces corruption charges related to Pemex's overvalued purchase of a fertilizer plant and to millions in dollars of bribes paid by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. He has said Pena Nieto and Videgaray told him to use $4 million from Odebrecht to pay foreign campaign consultants for work on Pena Nieto's 2012 election campaign.

Videgaray has denied the accusations. Pena Nieto, who left office in 2018 and is reported to be living abroad, hasn't spoken publicly since the allegations surfaced. Neither man faces any charges.

Print Headline: 3-year-old boy dies in Mexico shooting

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