Leader of Mexico's Federal Police Gunned Down

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, May 8, 2008; 1:24 PM

MEXICO CITY, May 8 -- Gunmen killed the head of Mexico's federal police force early Thursday in a brazen hit against the man who had become the public face of the country's war on drug cartels.

Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez was shot as he was entering his apartment building in the Colonia Guerrero neighborhood, a poor section of Mexico City that associates say he chose because it was close to law enforcement offices. The killing of such a high-ranking official in Mexico's capital -- a veteran officer protected round-the-clock by bodyguards -- seemed to suggest that almost no one is immune from the violence that has swept Mexico in recent months.

Millán Gómez was hit by at least nine bullets and died at the hospital, a police spokesman said. One suspect was arrested and was being questioned by police.

Mexico's federal police force -- an agency composed heavily of former military officers -- has joined the military in a widespread campaign against drug cartels. Millán Gómez is the fourth high-ranking federal police official to be killed this month in a wave of violence that experts here believe is retribution for the ongoing campaign.

Millán Gómez had led the federal police for just 40 days, though he had been a top-ranking officer for many years and had often served as spokesman for the agency at news conferences announcing major drug arrests. Most recently, he startled residents in the capital by announcing that his forces had arrested 11 hit men and uncovered a series of drug cartel safe houses here. The arrests seemed to prove that drug cartels -- which traditionally have operated most openly in remote parts of the country and along the U.S.-Mexico border -- were feeling confident enough to move into Mexico's capital.

The hit men, Millán Gómez said at the time, had been plotting revenge killings.

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