Gunmen in Mexico Kill Sailor’s Family in Apparent Revenge Attack

BY Larisa Epatko  December 23, 2009 at 3:04 PM EDT

Last week, a Mexican sailor, Melquisedet Angulo, died in a raid that killed a drug kingpin. This week, hit men shot dead the sailor’s mother, siblings and aunt in an apparent revenge killing.

The 30-year-old 3rd Petty Officer Angulo had been celebrated as a national hero for his role in the Dec. 16 operation that killed drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva. On Monday, Angulo was buried with full military honors.

Later that day around midnight, gunmen carrying AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles broke into his family’s home in Quintin Arauz in the southern state of Tabasco and killed his mother, sister, brother and aunt.

“These attacks are cowardly and detestable. They are an example of the lack of scruples of organized crime, going after the lives of innocents,” Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Tuesday, reported the Wall Street Journal. Calderon, in an effort to ramp up anti-drug efforts in the country, has deployed 45,000 troops to several Mexican states to combat drug cartels.

About 15,000 people have died in drug-related violence since he took office in 2006. El Universal reported on its Web site that Mexican officials arrested two people in connection with the killings, cited Bloomberg.com on Wednesday.

Tonight on the PBS NewsHour, David Luhnow of the Wall Street Journal reports from Mexico City on the latest developments.