1 dead, several missing after group attacked in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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A group visiting the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta was apparently attacked by suspected members of an organized crime gang, and one was killed and the others have disappeared and may have been kidnapped, Jalisco state authorities reported Saturday.

Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solis said the incident happened July 18 in a residential area of the city.

He said 13 or 14 people from the central Mexico state of Guanajuato had split up into two groups after arriving in Puerta Vallarta and then met up in the residential area, where they were confronted by attackers.

“There was a series of shots,” Solis said. “One person was left wounded at the place, others managed to flee — some on foot, others in vehicles.”

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The wounded person was pronounced dead at a hospital, and there has been no news about the others in the group, he said. Several off-road vehicles are also missing.

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The prosecutor called the news conference hours after the newspaper Reforma published a front page story on the attack, saying the visitors had been kidnapped.

Solis didn’t ruled that out.

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“It’s part of the investigations in conjunction with the murder and theft, and we’re going to continue along this line,” he said.

However, he stressed there are no formal allegations of abduction. He said the prosecutor’s office has had no contact with relatives of the apparently missing people and has no knowledge of ransom requests.

Solis said everything points to the attack being perpetrated by a “high-danger crime cell” linked to some organized crime group.

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The western state is the base of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is one of the most violent crime organizations in Mexico and has been blamed for the recent failed attack on Mexico City’s police chief. It is engaged in a bloody fight over territory with other groups, including a local gang in neighbouring Guanajuato known as the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel.

The prosecutor said none of the attacked visitors was linked to any criminal activity, but added that fear of cartels might be why no witnesses have appeared.

Reforma said some of the visitors were business people.

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