MEXICO CITY (AP) — Videos and photos of a woman killed in a drug gang shootout appear to confirm she was “La Catrina,” a female member of a cartel hit squad that massacred 13 police officers in October.
Officials in the western state of Michoacan said six male gunmen were captured and a woman was killed after they opened fire on soldiers and police in the same area where the October ambush occurred.
State officials did not provide the identity of the woman killed in the Friday shootout, but videos and photos posted on the internet late Sunday showed the woman wounded on a stretcher, with a tattoo of a “Catrina” on her thigh.
Photos of the woman circulated earlier showed the same tattoo in the same place; some photos also show her holding a pistol. The Catrina is a skeletal female figure with a wide hat that has become associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
Video showed the woman had been shot in the neck and apparently died of blood loss. Soldiers and police seized 10 assault rifles at the scene.
In the October ambush, the voice of a woman — identified as La Catrina — can be heard on audio recordings in which a Jalisco cartel leader orders her to ambush police patrol trucks in the village of El Aguaje — an attack carried out by the hit squad.
The male voice then orders her to place hand-lettered signs on the burned-out police vehicles, threatening police and accusing them of supporting rival gangs.
The signs were signed “CJNG,”which stands for Jalisco New Generation cartel, which residents of El Aguaje say controls the area.
Women have sometimes occupied high-level positions as money launderers in drug cartels in the past, but it is rare for them to command or coordinate hit squads.