Body of groom found after being snatched at gunpoint at his own wedding

THE bodies of a groom and two members of his wedding party were found in the back of a truck four days after they were snatched at gunpoint as they left the church in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, officials said today.

Investigators are searching for gunmen who opened fire on the just married couple and their guests, killing one person. The assailants then kidnapped the groom, his uncle and his brother, Chihuahua state prosecutors’ spokesman Arturo Sandoval said.

The gunmen left the bride at the church during Friday’s attack in this city across the border from El Paso, Texas.  The bodies of the three men were found in the back of a pickup truck late today, along with a fourth body of someone who had not been identified and might not have been at the wedding.  Authorities didn’t provide a motive for the killings, but Ciudad Juarez has been shaken by violence as gangs fight bloody battles for drug routes north and control of territory.

There have been more than 4300 killings linked to organised crime in Ciudad Juarez since President Felipe Calderon launched his war on drugs in December 2006. Also today, federal police in Tabasco state arrested a prison director and seven guards after cocaine was found inside prison grounds.  Police in the western state of Michoacan found the bodies of two men along with a note threatening those who give authorities information on drug traffickers, state prosecutors said in a statement.

In northern Nuevo Leon state, soldiers raiding a farm outside the town of Higueras, near the border with Texas, came under fire from gunmen who escaped into the surrounding hills and woods, the army said. One suspected attacker was reported killed during the battle.  The army said the troops found a cache of weapons at the farm that included 124 rifles, 15 pistols, 69 grenades of different types, three anti-tank rockets, more than 1000 ammo clips and more than 5000 rounds of ammunition.

More than 22,700 people have been killed in drug violence since the government began its offensive against cartels.

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