Commander of anti-drug operations was killed in the Caribbean resort

The commander of anti-drug operations in the Caribbean resort town of Playa de Carmen was killed on Wednesday by assailants who ambushed him outside him outside his home. Carlos Hiram Rodriguez Alvarado headed an anti-drug squad known as the Dragon Group in Playa de Carmen, just south of Cancun. He died at the scene of about eight bullet wounds. Photos showed the body of Rodriguez Alvarado dressed in civilian clothes and slumped at the wheel of his car in a residential area, beyond the tourism zone. Police said the attackers had fired at least a dozen shots with heavy-caliber pistols. Authorities said Rodriguez Alvarado had recently arrested the son of a major local drug distributor on trafficking charges. The dead man's police group had focused on arresting small-time drug dealers in the popular tourist spot and in the surrounding communities of low-income housing. Rodriguez Alvarado, 29, had joined the force in October 1999. "We already have leads in the case; there were three people and they apparently had been trailing him and knew where they were going to kill him," said Bello Melchor, the attorney general for the state of Quintana Roo. Mexico's Caribbean coast remains a major transshipment point for drug traffickers, and has been the scene of several drug-related killings of police. The bullet-ridden bodies of three federal agents and two civilians believed to be informants were found on the outskirts of Cancun on Nov. 25. Authorities said drug traffickers were likely to blame in those killings. Hours later, another four charred bodies were found in the trunk of a burned-out car near the Cancun airport. On Nov. 26, two members of the Federal Agency of Investigation were found wounded but alive outside Cancun, AP reports.

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