Ambrosio Soto, mayor of Pungabarato, Guerrero, ambushed and killed
Ambrosio Soto Duarte was the mayor of Pungarabato, a small town in Mexico’s Guerrero state, who had allegedly received more than one death threat from organized crime, reportedly for refusing to hand over part of his municipality’s budget as protection money..
Guerrero state Governor Héctor Astudillo declared that State Police authorities warned Soto Duarte not to leave the town of Pungarabato, but for some reason, the mayor decided to drive to drug trafficking haven Ciudad Altamirano through a “dangerous road” at 10:30 pm on Saturday July 23.
Guerrero state spokesman Roberto Alvarez said gunmen blocked the highway with pickup trucks near the state line in Michoacan, and then proceeded to open fire on Soto’s vehicle. Two federal officers were also wounded in the attack.
The state line between Guerrero and Michoacan, along the Mexican Pacific coast, is part of a region known as “Tierra Caliente” (Hot Land), a nickname that was once a reference to the climate but now has become nearly synonymous with drug-related violence.
In his last tweet, posted earlier this month, Soto Duarte warned he was being threatened, and asked directly the Mexican president for help.
Just over two weeks after posting this message, Soto Duarte was shot dead.
Guerrero Governor Hector Astudillo Flores told reporters Sunday July 24 that the mayor had received death threats, prompting him to request security for himself and his family beginning in January.
“Around 10:30 p.m. Saturday July 23, the mayor was riding on a highway in the neighboring state of Michoacan when two pickups stopped his car”, Astudillo said.
The mayor died in the shootout that followed, as did a suspect. Two police officers in Soto Duarte’s security detail were injured, officials said.
According to local media Milenio, investigators found more than three hundred shell casings at the scene of the crime.