Mexican Interior Minister Killed in Chopper Crash

The man in the forefront of Mexico’s costly and deadly war against drug cartels has died in a helicopter crash.

Secretary of Interior Blake Mora was one of nine people killed in the crash that occurred on Friday in Xochimilco, south of Mexico City. He was 45. All passengers and crew of the helicopter were killed, government spokeswoman Alejandra Sota said. Also killed with Mora were Legal Affairs and Human Rights Undersecretary Felipe Zamora and Press Office chief Alfredo Garcia.

Mora’s death could negatively affect Mexico’s drug war as the late Interior minister was considered the face of the government’s ongoing campaign against cartels. President Felipe Calderon has called for an investigation into the tragedy, even as he praised Mora’s dedication to serve the country. The president said Mora was “a great Mexican who deeply loved his country and served until the last moment of his life.”

Before becoming Interior Minister, Mora was a Tijuana councilman, state and federal congressman, as well as chief of staff of Baja California state government.