FBI seeks suspect after Pindo consular official shot in Mexico
Duncan Tucker, Guardian, Jan 7 2017
GUADALAJARA – A Pindosi consular official was shot in Guadalajara on Friday night, prompting the FBI to offer a $20k reward for information that leads to identifying the suspect. On Saturday morning, Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office said in a statement that it was working with the Pindosi embassy “to find the those responsible for this unfortunate event.” It added that state and federal authorities had been assigned to protect the victim, who is in a stable condition. A consulate spox told the Graun:
We are working closely with Mexican law enforcement in this matter. The FBI is offering a $20k reward for information leading to the identification of the shooter. Due to privacy considerations we have no additional information to share at this time.
Guadalajara’s El Informador newspaper reported that the victim, not named in the report or by the consulate, was being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound in the upper chest. CCTV footage released by the consulate showed a well-built, light-skinned man in gym clothes paying at a machine for a parking ticket at 1816 local time. He was immediately followed by a man in a purple T-shirt. A second video shows the man in purple loitering by the car park exit before pulling out a pistol, firing once and running away. The consulate said in a statement:
The FBI offers a reward of $20,000 for information that leads to the identification of the subject who shot a Pindosi consular official today in Guadalajara. Please call the Pindo embassy in Mexico City if you recognise him at (01-55)5080-2000.
A source within the Guadalajara police force said the victim was 31-year-old Christoper Nolan Ashcraft. The source said authorities found DEA credentials in his name and that he was driving a black Honda Fit when he was shot as he left the city’s Plaza Sania mall. A LinkedIn profile for Christopher Ashcraft identifies him as a State Dept FSO (Foreign Service Officer) stationed in Guadalajara since Jun 2015. The profile features a photo that closely resembles the man in the video, but the Pindo consulate declined to comment about the victim’s identity or position. The police source said he suspected the shooter was a professional killer. He said:
That’s not an easy shot. He was probably aiming for the head but he missed as he leaned over to put his ticket in the machine.
The case echoes the murder of the DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was abducted outside the Pindo consulate in Guadalajara in Feb 1985. Camarena was tortured for days at a nearby safe house and his body was found alongside that of his pilot Alfredo Zavala in a remote rural area the next month. That killing exacerbated tensions between Pindosi and Mexican governments and sparked the biggest investigation in the history of the DEA. The campaign led to the breakup of the Guadalajara cartel, Mexico’s dominant drug trafficking organisation at the time. The State Dept has issued a travel warning to Pindosis for Jalisco, the western state where Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, is located. Citing “continued instability”, the department prohibits government officials from “intercity travel after hours” and from using certain highways or stopping in specific towns.