Bodies of groom, wedding party members found

Bodies of groom, wedding party members found
# 13 May 2010 03:03 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The bodies of a groom and two members of his wedding party were found in the back of a truck four days after being snatched at gunpoint as they left the church in this violent border city, officials said Tuesday, APA reports quoting “Associated Press”.
Family members of the victims said the men were related and U.S. citizens from La Mesa, New Mexico, according to the El Paso (Texas) Times.
Chihuahua state prosecutors’ spokesman Arturo Sandoval said all three victims were born in Mexico, according to birth certificates presented to investigators by their relatives. It wasn’t clear if they also held U.S. citizenship.
Sandoval said investigators were searching for gunmen who opened fire on the just-married couple and their guests in Ciudad Juarez, killing one person. The assailants then kidnapped the groom, his uncle and his brother.
The gunmen left the bride at the church during Friday’s attack in this city across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The bodies of the three men were found in the back of a pickup truck late Monday, along with a fourth body of someone who had not been identified and might not have been at the wedding.
Police identified the three victims as Rafael Morales Valencia, 29, his brother Jaime Morales Valencia, 25, and their uncle Guadalupe Morales Arriola, 47.
Family members told the El Paso Times they did not know why the men were targeted.
Authorities didn’t provide a motive from the killings, but Ciudad Juarez has been shaken by violence as gangs fight bloody battles for drug routes north and control of territory. There have been more than 4,300 killings linked to organized crime in Ciudad Juarez since President Felipe Calderon launched his war on drugs in December 2006.
Also Tuesday, federal police in Tabasco state arrested a prison director and seven guards after cocaine was found inside prison grounds.
Police in the western state of Michoacan found the bodies of two men along with a note threatening those who give authorities information on drug traffickers, state prosecutors said in a statement.
Also in Michoacan, a former state official was released from prison a year after being detained by federal prosecutors in an unprecedented roundup of 30 local and state officials, including 12 mayors, accused of protecting drug traffickers.
Ricardo Rubi, a former official with the state’s economic development department, was released from prison Tuesday for lack of evidence.
He was the 16th of the detained officials, including 10 mayors, who authorities have released for lack of evidence.
In northern Nuevo Leon state, soldiers raiding a farm outside the town of Higueras, near the border with Texas, came under fire from gunmen who escaped into the surrounding hills and woods, the army said. One suspected attacker was reported killed during the battle.
The army said the troops found a cache of weapons at the farm that included 124 rifles, 15 pistols, 69 grenades of different types, three anti-tank rockets, more than 1,000 ammo clips and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
More than 22,700 people have been killed in drug violence since the government began its offensive against cartels.