Two Spanish clothing salesmen who had been missing for a week were found dead inside a car that was pushed into a river in Culiacán, in the northeastern Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said at the weekend.
The bodies of José Montoya, 58, and Fernando Carmona, 57, were found inside the trunk of the car. They were handcuffed and had been shot repeatedly, according to the Sinaloan attorney’s report. A resident of the small farming village of Villa López Mateos raised the alert when he saw the back of a vehicle sticking out of the water.
The victims had hired the rental car in Guadalajara, in central Mexico. Both were traveling salesmen and they had been exploring this part of the country for several weeks. Their documents show that both men traveled constantly between Spain and Mexico, investigators said.
The Mexican attorney’s office said the men sold coats at the various villages they visited. They and two other people had been staying since late April at Flamingos, a modest hotel in the outskirts of Culiacán, “far from the city’s gaze,” as the establishment advertises itself. They shared a room and barely spent any time there, going out early and returning late.
Local authorities initially said the salesmen were out on a gourmet tour of the area when they were kidnapped, an unlikely event in a high-crime area ruled by drug cartels. Sinaloa is one of the most violent states in Mexico and headquarters of a criminal group led by Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, the world’s most-wanted man. “Nobody who was halfway well-informed would do tourism in these areas,” said a diplomatic source.
In February, two other traveling salesmen from Spain were assaulted and beaten in Michoacán.