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State assemblyman hacked to death in Mexico

MORELIA, Mexico – Four men hacked a state legislator to death with machetes and wounded a journalist who was apparently talking to him on the side of a highway Wednesday in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

Lawmaker Osbaldo Esquivel Lucatero had stopped with his brother to meet with the journalist on the outskirts of Morelia, the capital of Michoacan. While the two were talking, four men pulled up in a car and attacked the legislator and the journalist.

The legislator’s brother drove the men to a hospital, where Esquivel Lucatero died. The journalist suffered serious injuries.

Acting state prosecutor Marco Vinicio Aguilera said robbery might have been a motive.

Aguilera did not release the name of the journalist or the news outlet he worked for, citing the need for security.

Both journalists and local officials have been the targets of killings in recent years in Michoacan, where drug violence is so bad that some communities have formed self-defense groups.

Esquivel Lucatero was the former mayor of Buenavista Tomatlan, a town in one of the state’s most violent areas.

He had been arrested in a 2009 sweep along with more than 30 Michoacan state and local officials who were accused by federal prosecutors of protecting the La Familia drug cartel. All of the charges were later dismissed.