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Vice admiral killed by Knights Templars in rural ambush

August 1, 2013

A group of assassins employed by the Knights Templar cartel shot dead a vice admiral of the Mexican Navy in a remote area of Michoacan on Sunday.

Vice Admiral Carlos Miguel Salazar Ramonet was returning from vacation to a naval base near Puerto Vallarta with his wife, driver and bodyguard when the attack took place.

As protesters had blocked the Atlacomulco-Guadalajara highway on which they were traveling, Salazar told his driver to take a secondary road. This was a violation of security protocol, as Salazar should have informed his superiors that they were taking an alternate route through an area where several violent incidents had recently taken place.

Knights Templar gunmen then ambushed the vehicle as it was traveling between the municipalities of La Noria and Las Cruces. The assailants blocked the road from in front and behind, riddling the vice admiral’s non-bulletproof SUV with dozens of bullets.

Salazar and his bodyguard were killed, while his wife suffered minor injuries and the driver, who called for emergency assistance, was seriously wounded. It is unclear if Salazar was deliberately targeted, as his vehicle carried navy logos but neither he nor his bodyguard were in uniform.

Federal Attorney General Murillo Karam revealed on Monday that three suspects had been arrested and confessed to their role in the attack. They said the Knights Templars paid them 7,500 pesos per month to steal, kidnap, extort and even kill for the cartel.

Michoacan has become a hotbed of violence in recent weeks, with two federal police officers and at least 20 Templars killed in a shootout the previous week, just days after the Templars shot dead five people who were protesting their presence in the town of Los Reyes.

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