A Mexican federal congressman who was abducted and killed earlier this week was likely executed by a drug cartel, a state prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Gabriel Gómez was kidnapped alongside aide Heriberto Nuñez in Mexico's second-largest city of Guadalajara on Monday. Their charred remains were found in a burned-out pickup truck the following day.
Authorities have so far given no motive for the murder of Gomez, one of the most senior politicians to be killed since the 2010 assassination of Rodolfo Torre, a gubernatorial candidate for the violence-wracked northeastern border state of Tamaulipas.
Arturo Nahle, attorney general of the state of Zacatecas where Gomez's body was found, told local radio that the Jalisco New Generation cartel was probably behind the killing due to the nature of the abduction. The cartel is a relatively new gang that security experts say has made large inroads in territory controlled by more established groups.
"This is a classic organized crime execution," said Nahle.
"You only have to see the video, the weapons they're carrying, the number of people involved in the kidnapping," he added, referring to a series of still photos from a video released by Mexican media that showed the kidnapping of 49-year-old Gomez, a member of President Enrique Pena Nieto's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
In the photos, taken from a roadside security camera, men are seen taking command of Gómez's car after boxing it in on a highway on the outskirts of Guadalajara, the capital of the western state of Jalisco.
The fact that the kidnappers did not ask the men's families for a ransom also pointed to a gangland execution, Nahle said.
Gómez, a former pediatrician, had served as secretary of the federal government’s Human Rights Commission. The attorney general of Jalisco state told Mexican media that there were no known threats against Gómez, and nobody had approached his family to pay a ransom.
About 90,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since then-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 murders of federal lawmakers are rare. The last case occurred in September 20011, when another PRI congressman, Moisés Villanueva, was found dead in Guerrero state, two weeks after having been kidnapped.
Nevertheless, Jalisco has suffered outbreaks of gang violence, and in March 2013 the state's tourism minister was shot dead by gunmen in Guadalajara.
Mexico's murder rate has fallen since Pena Nieto replaced Calderon at the end of 2012. But crimes such as kidnapping and extortion have risen.
Al Jazeera and Reuters