Mexican mayor announces rival’s death hours before body is found

From The Telegraph (U.K.):

Mauricio Fernandez was being sworn in again as mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, one of northern Mexico’s most exclusive communities, when he announced to his cheering supporters: “Black Saldana, who apparently is the one who was asking for my head, was found dead today in Mexico City.”

However, speculation that Mr Fernandez might have had something to do with the death of Hector Saldana arose when it emerged that the barefoot, blindfolded corpse of “Black Saldana” had not been found until three and a half hours after the mayor’s speech, according to Mexico City prosecutors. The body – which was found hundreds of miles away – was not identified until two days later.

Now, the mayor is facing questions about the killing.

The mayor’s initial answer, repeated in a series of interviews, was simple: “Sometimes there are coincidences in life; it’s better to look at it this way.”

But when pressed, Mr Fernandez said US authorities had tipped him off that someone had intercepted cartel communications and learned Saldana was planning to kill him. He claimed that unspecified intelligence sources told him Saldana was dead hours before the bodies were found.

Paul Knierim, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington, said that, while he could not comment on the specific case, US agents did routinely coordinate with Mexican investigators trying to crack down on cartels.

“If we learned in the course of an investigation that somebody’s life was being threatened, we would definitely, definitely make sure that information was passed on to the appropriate authorities,” Mr Knierim said.

With upscale strip malls, expensive private schools and well-developed parks, San Pedro holds beautiful and well-guarded estates that are home to some of the nation’s leading business executives – and allegedly some leaders of the Beltran Leyva cartel, which Saldana allegedly took over a few months ago.

Until recently, the suburb of Monterrey, about 135 miles south of Laredo, Texas, was considered one of the cleanest, safest towns in Mexico.

But a spate of kidnappings and extortion have injured the area’s reputation.

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