07/26/2005

Three killed in violent Mexican border town

The Associated Press

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico- Masked gunmen opened fire on a home in this violent, Mexican border city, killing three men including a former police officer, prosecutors said.

Those killed in Sunday evening's shooting were former city police officer Leonel de la Garza, 28; Victor Manuel Guevara, 30; and Reyes Gustavo Alvarado, a 17-year-old from Laredo, Texas.

De la Garza's wife, 27-year-old Mildred Mariscal, and their 5-year-old child were wounded in the shooting, prosecutor Oscar Javier Sepulveda said Sunday. Both were treated and are expected to recover.

Officials said the gunmen, wearing ski masks, opened fire on de la Garza's home, then broke down the door to find the three dead inside.

The killings raised the city's murder rate this year to 103 people killed.

Mexican President Vicente Fox sent in federal troops earlier this year, then added more in June after the city's new police chief was shot and killed just hours after taking office _ and after city police opened fire on federal agents.

Law enforcement officials say Mexico's two main drug gangs are fighting for control of Nuevo Laredo, where thousands of cargo trucks carry Mexican goods into the United States.

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