Mexican beauty queen killed in shootout

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In this April 26, 2012 photo, Maria Susana Flores Gamez poses for a photo for a story about upcoming representation of Mexico at a beauty pageant in China, in Culiacan, Mexico. Flores, who was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in a beauty pageant in February, was killed in northern Mexico on Nov. 24, 2012 during a running gun battle between soldiers and the gang of drug traffickers she was traveling with. AP/El Debate, Gladys Serrano

CULIACAN, Mexico – A 20-year-old state beauty queen died in a gun battle between soldiers and the alleged gang of drug traffickers she was traveling with in a scene befitting the hit movie “Miss Bala,” or “Miss Bullet,” about Mexico’s not uncommon ties between narcos and beautiful young pageant contestants.

The body of Maria Susana Flores Gamez was found Saturday lying near an assault rifle on a rural road in a mountainous area of the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa, the chief state prosecutor said Monday. It was unclear if she had used the weapon.

“She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout,” state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said. “That’s what we’re going to have to investigate.”

The slender brunette was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in a beauty pageant in February. She had earlier competed for the more prestigious Miss Sinaloa state beauty contest, but didn’t win.

Higuera said Flores Gamez was traveling in one of the vehicles that engaged soldiers in an hours-long chase and gun battle. Besides Flores Gamez, Higuera said two people were killed and four detained.

The shootout began when the gunmen opened fire on a Mexican army patrol. Soldiers gave chase and cornered the gang at a safe house near the town of Mocorito. They escaped, and the gun battle continued along a nearby roadway, where the gang’s vehicles were eventually stopped. Six vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized following the confrontation.

It was at least the third instance in which a beauty queen or pageant contestants have been linked to Mexico’s violent drug gangs, a theme so common it was the subject of a critically acclaimed 2011 movie.

In “Miss Bala,” Mexico’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year’s Academy Awards, a young woman competing for Miss Baja California becomes an unwilling participant in a drug-running ring, finally getting arrested for deeds she was forced into performing.

In real life, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her 2008 crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant after she was detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. She was later released without charges.

Zuniga was detained in western Mexico in late 2010 along with seven men, some of them suspected drug traffickers. Authorities found a large stash of weapons, ammunition and $53,300 with them inside a vehicle.

In 2011, a Colombian former model and pageant contestant was detained along with Jose Jorge Balderas, an accused drug trafficker and suspect in the 2010 bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for Paraguay’s national football team and Mexico’s Club America. She was also later released.

Higuera said Flores Gamez’s body has been turned over to relatives for burial.

“This is a sad situation,” Higuera told a local radio station. She had been enrolled in media courses at a local university, and had been modeling and pageants since at least 2009.

Javier Valdez, the author of a 2009 book about narco ties to beauty pageants entitled “Miss Narco,” said “this is a recurrent story.”

“There is a relationship, sometimes pleasant and sometimes tragic, between organized crime and the beauty queens, the pageants, the beauty industry itself,” Valdez said.

“It is a question of privilege, power, money, but also a question of need,” said Valdez. “For a lot of these young women, it is easy to get involved with organized crime, in a country that doesn’t offer many opportunities for young people.”

Sometimes drug traffickers seek out beauty queens, but sometimes the models themselves look for narco boyfriends, Valdez said.

“I once wrote about a girl I knew of who was desperate to get a narco boyfriend,” he said. “She practically took out a classified ad saying ‘Looking for a Narco’.”

The stories seldom end well. In the best of cases, a beautiful woman with a tear-stained face is marched before the press in handcuffs. In the worst of cases, they simply disappear.

“They are disposable objects, the lowest link in the chain of criminal organizations, the young men recruited as gunmen and the pretty young women who are tossed away in two or three years, or are turned into police or killed.”

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  • http://twitter.com/soulassassin547 soul.assassin

    In terms of terrible, unprecedented drug-related violence, Mexico has now replaced Colombia.

    • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

       It is Colombia via Mexico

      • http://twitter.com/soulassassin547 soul.assassin

        For Americans, it’s too close for comfort but unfortunately, some of their countrymen are partaking the cocaine which only fuels the greed and bloodlust of the drug cartels.

  • regd

    She was found dead near an assault rifle and they cannot connect the dot?

    • Guest

       They connect their eyes to her beauty.

  • Guest

    “In real life, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her
    2008 crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant after she was detained
    on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. She was later released
    without charges.
    Zuniga was detained in western Mexico in late 2010 along with
    seven men, some of them suspected drug traffickers. Authorities found a
    large stash of weapons, ammunition and $53,300 with them inside a
    vehicle.

    In 2011, a Colombian former model and pageant contestant was
    detained along with Jose Jorge Balderas, an accused drug trafficker and
    suspect in the 2010 bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for
    Paraguay’s national football team and Mexico’s Club America. She was
    also later released.”

    Beauties don’t go to jail. Here, you can have a clue, what verdict Althea Altamirano will get: acquittal (kasi sexy siya) (Come on, the dominantly male authorities are very kautog)

    Only the boyfriend and the accomplice will rot in jail.

    • RomyLitz

      It’s not apple to apple situation. One, Altamarino is not beautiful as Zuniga, two, Altamarino is not a beauty queen, then three, she is a murderer, Zuniga is a beauty queen but not a murderer but looking for narco boyfriends or was threatened to be one. But it is possible Althea can escape if the jail warden is given his wish by Althea. That’s another story for “kautog-utog sa oten” situation.

      • Guest

        “she is a murderer, Zuniga is a beauty queen but not a murderer but looking for narco boyfriends or was threatened to be one.”

        But still, there is possibility (not proof, of course), that Zuniga was involved in murder actions. Whereas in Altamirano’s case, technically she was the mastermind of the murder.

  • RomyLitz

    These beauty queens can definitely read the newspapers in Mexico everyday of the losing battle of the drug lords and drug pushers against the soldiers and policemen. They knew they will have to bite or take the bullet !!

    • Guest

       Also in Mexico, mammon is a powerful deity.

      • amapangarap

        here in the phils, mammon is a tasty merienda

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

    Good thing Phl is not as worse as Mexico.  But soon she would be.

    • Guest

       That might happen as the shadow side of growth.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRtmMxB5yw CrossWinds

    These men were cowards and murderers……….a fate unimaginal awaits them……..
    Revelation 21:8………….But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”……………

  • edm365f31

    LEGALIZE POT AND THINGS WILL CHANGE!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Kaewyoo KiNGPAi

    He whant this…

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