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MacKay wants Mexico to prosecute culprits in violence against Canadians

Nearly 30 koi of different colors make their home in a pond in the front yard of Melinda and David Smieja’s Crosby home. The Smiejas’ garden is one of nine stops on the seventh annual Pond & Water Garden Tour Saturday. - Photo by Valentina Petrova
Nearly 30 koi of different colors make their home in a pond in the front yard of Melinda and David Smieja’s Crosby home. The Smiejas’ garden is one of nine stops on the seventh annual Pond & Water Garden Tour Saturday.
— image credit: Photo by Valentina Petrova

MEXICO CITY (AP-CP) — Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said Thursday he was assured by top Mexican officials that they will closely follow investigations into a string of violence involving Canadian visitors in Mexico.

MacKay said he hopes the investigations “will be drawn to a successful conclusion and that prosecutions will follow.”

“We take the matter very seriously and act in an expeditious way,” he said.

“I have been given assurances that the investigations will be monitored, followed by the government.”

Several Canadians have been killed or injured in Mexico in recent months, and families of some of the victims have complained that Mexican police have botched the investigations.

On Saturday, two Canadians were grazed by bullets when someone opened fire in the lobby of a hotel in Acapulco, which is in the midst of a bloody turf war between drug cartels.

The two were treated at a hospital and released. Police have not made any arrests.

Last month, Adam DePrisco, 19, of Woodbridge, Ont., was killed after leaving an Acapulco disco.

Police said DePrisco died from injuries sustained during a hit-and-run car accident. But his travelling companion and a local official speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions said DePrisco was beaten by nightclub workers and hit by a car while trying to escape his aggressors.

DePrisco’s family has also said they were told by doctors that DePrisco’s injuries did not indicate a hit-and-run accident and they believe he was beaten.

DePrisco’s family has questioned the Mexican police investigation and asked Canadian authorities to intervene.

On Wednesday, Gov. Zeferino Torreblanca of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, said he would like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to assist in the investigation of DePrisco’s death.

MacKay said “there is a willingness to participate” in the investigation if Mexico formally requests help.

Last year, Woodbridge residents Domenic and Nancy Ianiero were found with their throats slashed in their hotel room in Cancun on the Caribbean coast. Those killings have not been solved.

MacKay, who met with President Felipe Calderon and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, said they had assured him the Mexican government would monitor the investigations into the deaths of DePrisco and the Woodbridge couple.

MacKay also said Canada has a vested interest in Mexico’s security and is willing to support Calderon in his fight against organized crime and the drug trade.

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