March 8, 2002

Mexican mayor held in slaying for questioning

                 MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- She was following President Vicente Fox's
                 lead, refusing to put up with small-time government corruption.

                 But the young city council member may have stumbled on something even bigger,
                 and lost her life for it.

                 The mayor of Atizapan, a wealthy bedroom community a few miles southwest of
                 Mexico City, is being held by state prosecutors for questioning in the death of
                 Maria de los Angeles Tames. Two other local officials also wanted for questioning
                 appear to have fled.

                 At the same time, federal prosecutors apparently are investigating whether Tames'
                 killing was related to suspected drug activities in the area.

                 The case illustrates how entrenched corruption and drug trafficking is in Mexico,
                 and the challenge Fox and his supporters have in trying to end it.

                 A 27-year-old lawyer, Tames was a member of Fox's National Action Party. She
                 was elected city council member in 2000 and began investigating spending
                 irregularities, including money set aside for construction materials that were never

                 In September, she was shot on the doorstep of her family's home.

                 It's not clear how much Tames uncovered or exactly who was involved.

                 But the upscale town she represented, known for its golf course and gated
                 neighborhoods, has a darker side.

                 Officials have seized one home allegedly belonging to suspected Juarez drug boss
                 Alcides Ramon Magana, who was arrested last year and is wanted in the United
                 States on drug smuggling charges.

                 The area also is reportedly an operations center for the Arellano Felix drug
                 organization, whose leader Ramon Arellano Felix may have been killed in a police
                 shootout recently in the resort city of Mazatlan. U.S. and Mexican officials are
                 checking DNA samples after the body of the dead man was picked up by alleged
                 family members and cremated.

                 Still, state prosecutors have so far tied only local officials to Tames' death.

                 Dominguez is being held under house arrest, and prosecutors say he has given
                 several contradictory statements about her killing.

                 Investigators also have discovered a building behind city hall that was allegedly used
                 to spy on witnesses in the case against Dominguez.

                 City officials were unavailable to comment on the allegations.

                  Copy right 2002 The Associated Press.