A Mexican beauty queen died in a weekend shootout between military troops and suspected criminals in the northern Mexico area of Sinaloa, authorities said Monday.
Maria Susana Flores Gamez, 20, died Saturday in the municipality of Mocorito. She was crowned the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in February. Two others were also killed in the shootout, including her boyfriend, and Sinaloa State Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera said a rifle was found near Fores' body. It was not clear whether she had fired it or who shot her, he added.
Four people were detained and authorities seized various weapons, drugs and vehicles.
"All we know is that it happened during a confrontation that the army had with criminals, and that she was with the group of criminals," Higuera told reporters, according to a transcript from his office. "She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout. That's what we're going to have to investigate.''
According to Fox News, Higuera said Monday that Gamez was traveling in one of the vehicles that engaged soldiers in the hours-long chase and shootout. The suspected criminals are said to be part of a gang of drug traffickers. The network's Latino affiliates stated that the armed men involved in the shootout are linked to the alleged head of the Sinaloa cartel hitmen in the region of Evora. The military troops followed the armed men along with Gamez to a safe house and uncovered seven AK-47 fusion, a grenade launcher, two grenades, a .40 mm caliber rifle, a thousand rounds and six vehicles.
CNN noted that more than 47,500 people have died across Mexico in "drug-related violence" since December 2006. Sinaloa is home to Mexico's most powerful drug cartel, according to reports.
The former mayor of Tiquicheo, María Santos Gorrostieta, died just over 10 days ago.