Baja California state police are investigating the gangland-style slaying of four men who were riddled by automatic weapons as they sat in a taxi in a middle-class Tijuana neighborhood.
The Thursday evening slayings were the latest of several spectacular street killings in Tijuana this year suspected to be connected to drug traffickers.
In the latest incident, authorities said, a Tijuana boxing promoter, two associates and a cabdriver were shot to death by two men carrying AK47 assault rifles at about 6:30 p.m.
According to police, witnesses saw the taxi and an off-white or gray van parked on Avenida Colinas de Aguacaliente. The witnesses saw several man arguing with each other in the street, police said. Then they saw two men produce weapons and begin firing into the taxi, police said, hitting each of the victims more than 20 times in the head and body.
The victims were identified as Tijuana boxing promoter Estanislao Olmos Gonzalez, 40; Gilberto Diaz Lagruel, 20, and Jose Osvaldo Medina, age unknown, all of whom have past criminal records, and Gregorio Olmos Gonzalez, 55, the cabdriver.
State Judicial Police conducted a massive search for the suspects without success, police said. They are searching for the van.
The slaying resembles several gangland-style deaths during the past year attributed to warfare among drug cartels.
In January, gunmen with automatic weapons killed a Baja State Judicial Police officer, who investigators said was involved in drug trafficking, as he sat in his car in front of his home.
That incident, along with the execution-style slayings of six suspected drug traffickers in February, has helped push the 1992 homicide rate in Tijuana to record heights.
Miguel Cervantes Sahagun in Tijuana contributed to this story.