September 23, 2014 / 9:04 PM / in 3 years

Mexican lawmaker feared dead after burned bodies found in truck

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican lawmaker kidnapped on Monday with an aide is feared dead after the remains of two charred bodies were found in his pick-up truck on Tuesday, state prosecutors said.

Gabriel Gomez, a federal congressman of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was abducted in Tlaquepaque, a suburb of the western city of Guadalajara, the attorney general’s office in the state of Jalisco said.

Early on Tuesday, two bodies were found inside Gomez’s burned-out truck around 60 miles (100 kilometers) away in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Luis Carlos Najera, Jalisco’s attorney general, told a news conference.

“The license plates are those of the vehicle of the kidnapped congressman,” Najera said.

Najera said DNA tests were being conducted on the remains, but gave no further details.

Around 90,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since former President Felipe Calderon sent in the military to crush warring drug cartels at the end of 2006.

A number of local politicians have been killed, but attacks on federal lawmakers are rare. Still, Jalisco has suffered outbreaks of gang violence, and last March the state’s tourism minister was shot dead by gunmen in Guadalajara.

Jalisco is the base of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, a relatively new gang that security experts say has made major inroads in territory controlled by more-established groups.

Mexico’s murder rate has fallen since President Enrique Pena Nieto replaced Calderon at the end of 2012. But crimes such as kidnapping and extortion have risen.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Dave Graham and Dan Grebler

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