Huge reward offered for female ‘assassin gang member who shot dead’ politician

A huge $50k (£37k) reward has been offered as police hunt and alleged female assassin gang member who gunned down an ex-politician inside a restaurant toilet.

Aristóteles Sandoval, 46, was killed after he was shot in the back as he went to the loo at a restaurant in the town of Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state, Mexico, last month.

Mr Sandoval, who governed the state of Jalisco from 2013 to 2018, died in hospital on December 18.

It is the latest high-profile attack on a Mexican politician and the murder is believed to have been carried out by gunmen with links with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Newly-released images show a woman with blonde hair wearing a grey hoodie and blue jeans, and her male accomplice fleeing the eatery Distrito 5 after the shooting.

The woman is said to have shot the 46-year-old ex-governor three times; once in the back of the head, a second shot struck him near the heart and the third shot hit his intestines, local newspaper Mural reports.

Attorney General Gerardo Solis announced a $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can come forward and provide information that could lead to the arrest and/or prosecution of both individuals.

He said: "Two people have been identified, a man and a woman, who could be related to the events under investigation.

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"In order to obtain truthful information that allows us to identify these people, the State Attorney's Office offers a million pesos as a reward for those who provide accurate data on each of them."

Investigators believe the deadly attack was meticulously planned by the killers, who waited until Mr Sandoval went to the bathroom at around 1am, leaving behind his two bodyguards.

A shootout erupted as his bodyguards tried to get him out of the restaurant and to a hospital but gunmen opened fire on them.

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At least one of the security guard was seriously injured but survived the attack.

A video uploaded to Twitter heard dozens of shots ringing out.

Mr Sandoval was rushed to hospital but he died of his wounds.

Jalisco's Attorney-General Gerardo Solís said police found the crime scene at the restaurant had been "altered" when they arrived.

He said: "When police arrived, restaurant staff had removed all the evidence inside. They'd practically cleaned the scene of the crime.

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"This is going to hamper the investigation because the crime scene has literally been disturbed."

Authorities have so far arrested four workers and charged them with obstruction of justice and concealing evidence.

A judge has issued arrest warrants for six other workers, who are wanted for the same offences.

Mr Sandoval's time in office was marred by violence. Just days after becoming governor, his tourism minister was ambushed and killed by gunmen believed to have links with the CJNG.

In May 2015, an army helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade killing several of the soldiers on board.

The CJNG is one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico and is renowned for its extreme violence.

It was formed in 2009 and earlier this year a US counter-drug official brandished the racket its "biggest criminal drug threat" while a senior Mexican security chief called the group "the most urgent threat" to the nation;s national security.

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