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`Mexican beauty queen fired at troops before death'

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Thu, Dec 06, 2012 10:00 hrs

Culiacan (Mexico), Dec 6 (IANS/EFE) A Mexican prosecutor said beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez fired at army soldiers before she was killed in an armed clash last month in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

The delegate of the federal Attorney General's Office in Sinaloa, Enrique Feregrino Taboada, told reporters Tuesday that a gunshot residue examination conducted on the 22-year-old woman's body turned up positive.

He said the investigation was continuing into four people detained in the wake of the Nov 24 clash, which took place in the town of Mocorito and pitted the soldiers against a cell of the Sinaloa cartel.

The shootout occurred when the troops came under fire by a group armed assailants while patrolling the area and repelled the aggression.

Two soldiers and a civilian who was driving in the area at the time of the shootout also died in the exchange of gunfire.

A man identified as Orzo Ivan Gastelum, suspected leader of the criminal cell and apparently Flores' boyfriend, managed to escape during the firefight.

Authorities conducted a test for detecting the presence of gunshot residue on the young woman after an AK-47 rifle was found next to her body following the shootout.

Flores won the Sinaloa Woman contest and competed in the Our Sinaloa Beauty contest, which she did not win.

This is not the first time that a Mexican beauty queen has been linked to drug traffickers.

Laura Elena Zuniga, who won Our Sinaloa Beauty in 2008, was arrested along with seven men on firearms and money laundering charges Dec 23, 2008, in Zapopan, a city in the western state of Jalisco.

The beauty queen was released a few weeks later because prosecutors could not find sufficient evidence to put her on trial.

Zuniga's story inspired director Gerardo Naranjo's 2011 film "Miss Bala".

--IANS/EFE

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