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Singer abducted, strangled to death in Mexico

The lead singer of well-known Mexican band K-Paz de la Sierra was abducted and strangled to death, justice officials said on Monday, adding to a list of performers killed in a violent crime wave. Sergio Gomez, whose group had close ties to the U.S. city of Chicago, and two music promoters, were seized by armed men in the western Mexican state of Michoacan in the early hours of Sunday after a show.

The promoters were released on Monday but Gomez was found dead on the outskirts of Morelia, the state capital, according to Magdalena Guzman, spokeswoman for Michoacan’s justice department.

“He was strangled,” Guzman said, adding that Gomez also had bruises and other injuries on his body.

Michoacan, President Felipe Calderon’s home state, has made headlines this year for gruesome drug-related violence, as traffickers fight over the best routes to transport narcotics north.

But it was unclear if Gomez’s death was related to drugs.

K-Paz de la Sierra plays bouncy “Duranguense” music heavy on drums and synthesizers. The band is among a new generation of regional musicians who have gained a strong following in both the United States and Mexico over the last decade.

The band’s members were immigrants to the Chicago area from Mexico’s Durango state but spent much of their time in Mexico.

Gomez was abducted and killed hours after another lesser-known singer, Zayda Pena, was murdered in the border city of Matamoros.

Pena was shot at her motel and rushed to a hospital for surgery. She was shot a second time in the face inside the hospital by an unknown man and died, local media said.

Calderon launched a military clampdown last year against drug cartels. Some 2,350 people have been killed this year in drug violence in Mexico.