Mouriño dies in crash
by DAVID AGREN
The nation's highest-ranking Cabinet official died Tuesday evening when his government-owned jet plunged into a narrow street lined with office buildings in the capital's upscale Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood.
Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño, a trusted adviser of President Felipe Calderón and the country's top public security official, died in a crash that claimed the life of José Santiago Vasconcelos, the former lead federal prosecutor for organized crime.
"Mexico lost a great Mexican, intelligent, loyal, committed to his ideals, honest and hard-working," President Felipe Calderón said in televised remarks Tuesday night.
The president tapped his former chief of staff to be interior secretary earlier this year in an effort to smooth relations with Congress for the introduction of a politically sensitive energy reform package. But the Spanish-born Mouriño, 37, immediately became polemic as contracts surfaced suggesting that he had steered Pemex business to family businesses while serving in previous public positions. He was most recently mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in his home state of Campeche.
Mouriño and Vasconcelos were returning from public security meetings in the state of San Luis Potosí, but their plane crashed for reasons that are still unclear to investigators.
The crash killed all nine passengers and crew members and at least three more on the ground, according to Carlos Huber, spokesman for the civil protection agency in the borough of Miguel Hidalgo. At least 40 people were injured, seven of them seriously.
Photos taken by Huber shortly after the crash showed at least three weapons belonging to passengers on the plane littering the scene.
He told The News that at least 20 vehicles were torched and one of the victims was found sitting in a car.
Huber said that the Learjet 45 appeared to have been traveling in a northward direction - the opposite direction for aircraft arriving in Mexico City from San Luis Potosí and contrary to the normal flight path to the capital's international airport.