Mexican Beauty Queen Gunned Down in Drug War
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The loss of a pretty face in Mexico has grabbed press attention, providing one more stark reminder of the ugliness of the nation's ongoing drug war. Maria Susana Flores Gamez, a Mexican beauty queen who had even represented her country abroad, was killed this weekend during a confrontation between soldiers and a group of drug traffickers in an armored vehicle. The 22-year-old had allegedly been traveling with the traffickers, who initiated the skirmish, resulting in the death of Gamez, her boyfriend, two soldiers and one more civilian. The group she was involved with are thought to be linked with Orso Iván Gastélum (aka El Cholo Iván or El Cholo Vago) a notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel—one of the two most powerful organized crime gangs in the country. In a beauty pageant this past February, Gamez was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa (a state in Northwestern Mexico that has been ravaged by cartel violence). In 2009, she was named Model of the Year, and in May, she represented Mexico at the Miss Oriental Tourism International pageant, held in China. The drug war in Mexico has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives in the past six years.