The former mayor of Apatzingan, Cesar Chavez Garibay, was shot to death on Monday when leaving a local barber shop, judicial authorities in the western Mexican state of Michoacán reported.

Chavez Garibay, businessman and former local deputy for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was attacked by several armed men at the exit of the business in which he had cut his hair and shaved his beard, they indicated.

The attackers fled through various streets of Apatzingán, while local paramedics provided first aid to Chavez Garibay, who died upon arrival at the Regional Hospital of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).

Chavez Garibay was mayor from 2015 to 2018 of Apatzingán, the main municipality in the Tierra Caliente region of the state of Michoacán and considered one of the areas in dispute between drug gangs.

The 40-year-old former official and businessman was a PRI deputy to the Michoacán Congress from 2012 to 2015.

He was currently one of the candidates with the most mentions to be a candidate for mayor of Apatzingan for the elections to be held in 2021.

The General Prosecutor’s Office (FGR) and General Attorney General’s Office (FGE) have identified that several organized crime organizations operate in Apatzingán that dispute control of the plaza and drug trafficking routes in that region.

Among these are the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), Los Caballeros Templarios, La Nueva Familia Michoacana. Los Viagras y Los Blancos de Troya-, Cártel de Tepalcatepec or abuelo Farías and the Cártel de Zicuirán or Miguel Ángel Gallegos Godoy, el Migueladas.

The State Prosecutor’s Office reported that a group of agents of the Ministerial Police has been commissioned to investigate the case of the murder of the former mayor, in which so far no line of investigation has been ruled out.

Members of the National Guard and the Mexican Army have deployed operations in the municipalities of Aguililla, Tepalcatepec, Buenavista, Parácuaro, Nueva Italia, Gabriel Zamora and Apatzingán, which make up the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán.