Mexican police chief killed in hail of bullets in Sinaloa

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Soldiers of the National Guard and state policemen cordon off the vehicle in which the director of the Sinaloa State Preventive Police, Joel Ernesto Soto, was killed in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, 24 May 2021.Image source, EPA

The police chief in Mexico's north-western Sinaloa state, Joel Ernesto Soto, has been killed while he was driving to the state capital, Culiacán.

Local police said gunmen had fired some two hundred bullets at his car.

Soto had survived an earlier ambush three weeks ago, when the convoy he was travelling in was attacked near the city of Mazatlán.

The state of Sinaloa is notorious for gang violence with the Sinaloa cartel the most deadly and violent.

It is not yet clear who may have been behind the attack on Soto.

Sinaloa's state security secretary, Cristóbal Castañeda, said Soto had been on leave and was returning from a trip to see his family when he was ambushed.

Mr Castañeda said Soto was travelling with his bodyguards but had decided to keep a "low profile" and travelled in a "discreet car" when he was attacked.

Last year, more than 500 police officers were murdered in Mexico with many targeted by the country's powerful criminal gangs and drug-trafficking cartels.

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