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Senior Mexican official killed in drug-cartel stronghold

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Mexico’s effort to crack down on rampant drug cartels suffered a blow Thursday, as the second-highest security official in the state of Michoacan, an epicenter of violence, was gunned down along with three others in public in the state capital.

Adding to the brazenness of the attack, Jose Manuel Revuelta was killed in the home state of President Felipe Calderon, who since 2006 has launched a military-style campaign against drug cartel.

The killing highlighted a surge in drug cartels’ efforts to strike back at the government. It came on the same day that gunmen broke into a rehab center in Ciudad Juarez, another area of violence, and killed 18 people in what appears to be a drug-related slaying.

The BBC reports that:

[Revuelta] was killed by heavily armed men in two cars who intercepted the vehicle he was driving. His two bodyguards and a bystander were also killed.
Mr Revuelta, 38, was killed blocks away from police headquarters in the state capital Morelia.

The Associated Press notes the significance of Mr. Revuelta's death:

Jose Manuel Revuelta, who was promoted less than two weeks ago to state deputy public safety director, is the highest-ranking government official killed in the wave of assassinations sweeping Michoacan, the cradle of La Familia drug cartel.
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