MEXICO CITY — Gunmen assassinated the acting chief of Mexico’s federal police early on Thursday morning in the most brazen attack so far in the year-and-a-half-old struggle between the government and organized crime gangs.
The Mexican police have been under constant attack since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2007 and started an offensive against drug cartels that had corrupted the municipal police forces and local officials in several towns along the border with the United States and on both coasts.
Since then, Mr. Calderón has sent thousands of federal agents and troops into those areas to establish law and order, provoking retaliation from drug cartels that have killed about 200 officers, among them at least 30 federal agents.
The acting chief, Edgar Millán Gómez, was ambushed by several men wearing rubber gloves and carrying weapons as he entered his apartment building in the Guerrero neighborhood of Mexico City with two bodyguards at 2:30 a.m. He was hit eight times in the chest and once in a hand. He died a few hours later at Metropolitan Hospital.
Commander Millán was the highest ranking official to be killed since Mr. Calderón’s campaign against drug dealers began. Intelligence officials said it was highly likely that he was killed in retribution for the arrest on Jan. 21 of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, one of the leaders of a cartel based in Sinaloa State.