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Once wealthy Mexican state plagued by killings, extortion

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Businessmen say they are being hit by a wave of extortion demands by criminal gangs in Mexico’s north-central state of Guanajuato.

Guanajuato was recently considered a success story in Mexico for attracting high-tech manufacturing investment. Five auto manufacturers have set up plants in the state.

But following a government crackdown on pipeline fuel thefts early this year, criminal gangs have targeted local businesses for shakedowns.

The head of the state’s association of auto dealerships said that at least two have been shot up by criminals demanding protection payments.

Arturo Gonzalez Palomino said the most recent attack occurred at a John Deere equipment dealership.

And the local bishop said even Roman Catholic priests have been targeted for extortion.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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