Alejandro Dominguez was sworn in as police chief of the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo Mexico on Wednesday. Six hours later, Dominguez, 52, lay dead, felled by a fusillade of bullets as he left his office in the center of town. He was the seventh – and most senior – police officer killed since January in this city of 500,000 across the border from Laredo, Tx., reports the Houston Chronicle.
The brazenness of the slaying showed how defenseless residents are against drug-related violence, which has claimed the lives of more than 60 people in the city so far this year. The violence has persisted despite 700 federal police and soldiers sent in March by President Vicente Fox. Bruce Bagley, an expert on drug traffickers at the University of Miami, said the attack on the new police chief showed that drug cartels are prepared to directly confront the government, as they have in Colombia. Dominguez had criticized the U.S. for failing to stop drug consumption by Americans, who put an estimated $20 billion into the hands of Mexican smugglers annually.