Armored Suburban narrowly saves the chief and two escorts from a well-equipped hit squad
The police chief of Puerto Vallarta escaped injury this morning when a heavily armed assault team launched a grenade and machine gun attack against his armored vehicle, while he was on his way to work in that city.
Roberto Rodríguez Preciado and his two escorts walked away unscathed. Five passersby were hit by shrapnel from the fragmentation grenades, and a car on the street was destroyed.
State police and military contingents responded to the scene in minutes, local news sources reported.
Puerto Vallarta is a major tourist resort of 260,000 people, due west of Guadalajara. In recent months the city has increasingly felt the effects of Mexico's 70 month drug war, launched in December 2006.
Police say that at least three unknown assailants roadblocked the chief's armored Suburban and lobbed several grenades at it. When the engine died and it stalled in the middle of the street, they riddled the Suburban with machine gun fire. They then fled in a pickup truck.
Terrified locals reported hearing the staccato bursts of automatic weapons blocks away.
The gunmen's vehicle was founded abandoned soon after. It contained an AK-47, a hand grenade and multiple rounds of 7.62 ammunition, a rifle cartridge commonly used by the U.S. military and armed forces of other nations. Although authorities assured residents and tourists that Puerto Vallarta and its immediate environs are safe, the city remained under heavy security this evening.
Oct. 16 - Los Zetas strike Puerto Vallarta
Oct. 20 - Puerto Vallarta police chief resigns
Jan. 22, 2013 - Puerto Vallarta: tensions linger after brazen narco attack
June 20, 2013 - Puerto Vallarta sweats through the dog days of summer
More photos, and a Milenio summary of events: Atacan a director de la policía de Puerto Vallarta.
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CBC News report on Canadian drug traffickers in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, May 2012