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Police official is shot to death in Mexico's troubled resort city of Acapulco

Eduardo Chávez, the head of municipal traffic police, was shot to death on Thursday in Mexico's resort town of Acapulco; the crime is still under investigation.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The head of traffic police was shot to death Thursday in Mexico’s troubled Pacific coast resort of Acapulco.

The city government said gunmen killed Eduardo Chávez, the head of municipal traffic police. The assailants opened fire on Chávez on a street relatively far away from the resort’s beaches. The crime is under investigation.

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Drug cartels in Mexico often force bus and taxi drivers to work for them, and thus could have been angered by traffic stops of such vehicles. Videos posted on social media in March showed drug gang enforcers brutally beating bus drivers in Acapulco for failing to act as lookouts for the cartel.

One video showed a presumed gang enforcer dealing more than a dozen hard, open-hand slaps to a driver and calling him an "animal," and demanding he check in several times a day with the gang.

It was the latest incident of deadly violence in Acapulco, which is still struggling to recover after being hit by Category 5 Hurricane Otis in October. Otis left at least 52 dead and destroyed or damaged most hotels.

Tourists have begun trickling back into the resort, as violence has continued unabated.

In February, the strangled bodies of two men were found on the popular Condesa beach in Acupulco. Prosecutors in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero said the men’s bodies bore signs of "torture by ligature" with "signs of torture around the neck."

Mexican drug gangs frequently kill their victims by asphyxiation, either by strangling them or wrapping duct tape or plastic bags around their heads.

In early February, the state government deployed 60 gun-toting detectives to patrol the beaches "in light of the violent events that have occurred recently."

At least three people were shot dead on beaches in Acapulco that week, one by gunmen who arrived — and escaped — aboard a boat.

Only a fraction of the city’s hotel rooms — about 8,000 — have been repaired.

The government has pledged to build about three dozen barracks for the quasi-military National Guard in Acapulco. But even the throngs of troops on the streets — about 10,000 National Guard and 6,500 soldiers — haven’t kept the gang violence at bay.

In January, the main Acapulco chamber of commerce reported that gang threats and attacks caused about 90% of the city’s passenger vans to stop running, affecting the resort’s main form of transport.

Acapulco has been bloodied by turf battles between gangs since at least 2006. The gangs are fighting over drug sales and income from extorting protection payments from businesses, bars, bus and taxi drivers.

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