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Government foils plot to kill congressmen

April 7, 2013

Authorities arrested a group of armed men who allegedly plotted to assassinate two leftist legislators in Mexico City last Thursday.

Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez said the gang members were captured in a hotel in the capital and have since confessed to planning to kill brothers David and Ricardo Monreal Avila, both federal congressmen from Zacatecas.

“Early today, the raid was successfully carried out without violence,” Benitez said on April 4, adding that authorities had also seized weapons, communications equipment and a vehicle “which they planned to use for the attacks.”

Benitez said that the two intended victims had been warned and placed under protection once the plot was uncovered, based on intelligence information. The authorities did not specify how many suspects had been detained and gave no motive for the planned assassination.

Both brothers represent the Mexican left, with David, 47, a senator for the Labor Party and Ricardo, 52, a congressman for the Citizen’s Movement. The latter served as Zacatecas governor from 1998 to 2004 and worked as a campaign manager in Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s failed bids to win the presidency in 2006 and 2012.

“Smokescreen, intimidation, terror and from whom? The truth must rapidly be known,” Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter on Friday, as well as voicing his “solidarity” with the brothers.

News of the arrests sparked speculation that one of Mexico’s drug gangs could have been behind the plot.

In 2009, the Mexican Army seized over 11.4 tons of marijuana in a raid on a warehouse owned by a third brother, Candido Monreal. The Monreals claimed the warehouse was used for drying chilli and had been broken into and used by a drug gang. Candido was never charged.

Later that year Ricardo accused the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) which then ruled Zacatecas of being infiltrated by organized crime. He subsequently resigned from the leftist party in protest at what he called a smear campaign against him.

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