A Mexican beauty queen was shot dead in a gun battle between the military and the drug traffickers she was traveling with, a crime that echoed a recent hit Mexican movie. The body of Maria Susana Flores Gamez, the 20-year-old winner of a statewide beauty contest in Sinaloa, was found near an assault rifle on a rural road in the state after an hours-long chase and shootout, the AP reports. Police are trying to determine whether she actually took part in the shootout.
Gamez is at least the third beauty contest winner linked to drug cartels in recent years, a relationship explored in the 2011 movie Miss Bullet. "There is a relationship, sometimes pleasant and sometimes tragic, between organized crime and the beauty queens, the pageants, the beauty industry itself," the author of a book about cartel ties to beauty pageants says. "It is a question of privilege, power, money, but also a question of need," he says. "For a lot of these young women, it is easy to get involved with organized crime, in a country that doesn't offer many opportunities for young people." (Read more Mexico stories.)