Cartel ‘guns down’ Mexican politician at restaurant in popular beach resort

A cartel is believed to have gunned down a popular politician at a popular Mexican beach resort.

Aristóteles Sandoval, 46, was killed after he was shot in the back as he went to the bathroom at a restaurant in the town of Puerto Vallarta.

Mr Sandoval, who governed the state of Jalisco from 2013 to 2018, died in hospital.

It is the latest high-profile attack on a Mexican politician and the murder is believed to have been carried out by gunmen with links with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

The politician's time in office was overshadowed by violent crime committed by CJNG.

Investigators believe the deadly attack was meticulously planned by the killers, who waited until Mr Sandoval went to the bathroom, leaving behind his two bodyguards.

He was shot in the back, but was not killed instantly. His bodyguards tried to get him out of the restaurant and to a hospital but gunmen opened fire on them.

A video uploaded to Twitter heard dozens of shots ringing out.

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Mr Sandoval was rushed to hospital but he died of his wounds.

Jalisco's Attorney-General Gerardo Solís said police found the crime scene at the restaurant had been "altered" when they arrived.

He said: "When police arrived, restaurant staff had removed all the evidence inside. They'd practically cleaned the scene of the crime.

"This is going to hamper the investigation because the crime scene has literally been disturbed."

Mr Sandoval's time in office was marred by violence. Just days after becoming governor, his tourism minister was ambushed and killed by gunmen believed to have links with the CJNG.

In May 2015, an army helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade killing several of the soldiers on board.

The CJNG is one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico and is renowned for its extreme violence.

It was formed in 2009 and earlier this year a US counter-drug official brandished the racket its "biggest criminal drug threat" while a senior Mexican security chief called the group "the most urgent threat" to the nation;s national security.

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