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article image­Mexican beauty queen killed in shootout with army patrol?

By Anne Sewell     Nov 27, 2012 in Crime
Mocorito - It has been reported that a 20-year-old Mexican beauty queen was shot dead in a gun battle between drug traffickers and an army patrol, in northern Mexico. However, there is doubt as to the correct identity of the young woman.
Speaking of María Susana Flores Gamez, the beauty queen mentioned in the media reports, State Prosecutor, Marco Antonio Higuera, said on Monday, “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.”
Flores Gamez was crowned "2012 Woman of Sinaloa" in a beauty pageant in February 2012.
While it is not sure whether she was involved with the criminals, the region is known for heavy drug trafficking. Mexican authorities say that the criminals involved in Monday's shootout are most likely linked to the notorious Sinaloa cartel.
Reportedly, the shootout started after one of the gang members opened fire on patrolling soldiers. The criminals then tried to escape, but were chased by the soldiers for several hours and were finally cornered near the town of Mocorito. After the shootout between the soldiers and the gang was over, the body of the young woman was found on the scene.
Soldiers apparently confiscated six vehicles, drugs and guns and captured four of the criminals, while two other members of the gang were killed in the operation.
According to Javier Valdez, author of the 2009 book about narcotic ties to beauty pageants, "Miss Narco", "There is a relationship, sometimes pleasant and sometimes tragic, between organized crime and the beauty queens, the pageants, the beauty industry itself."
"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."
Valdez also stated that beauty pageant contests who involve themselves in a life of drug crime "is a recurrent story" that seldom ends well.
"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," Valdez said.
But are they talking about the right girl?
While this story is being reported widely on the media, it is interesting to note that on the Facebook page of the beauty contest, "Nuestra Belleza Sinaloa (Sitio Oficial)", a statement has been posted in the last 17 hours, that Flores Gamez is not, in fact, the girl who was killed in the incident. A rough translation of the statement reads as follows:
"CLARIFICATION: Some media have been disseminating incorrect information, and we use this space to make the clarification that the young woman who unfortunately lost her life at the past weekend is not our beauty Sinaloa or Miss Sinaloa as mentioned in the media."
"None of the titles and contests mentioned in the media represent our country or our organization."
"The media have been disseminating photographs of some of our Queens accompanying such news. We respect them to act with professionalism and to disseminate correct information and photos that do not damage the image and tranquility of our Queens, family and friends."
Due to this statement there is some doubt as to the authenticity of the media reports and it is to be hoped that some light is shed on this soon for the sake of Flores Gamez and her family.
More about Mexico, Beauty queen, Sinaloa, Drug cartel, Drug trafficking
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