Mexico soldiers kill teen at checkpoint

January 13, 2008 7:09:45 PM PST
Soldiers opened fire on a pickup truck that failed to stop at a checkpoint in western Mexico, killing a male 17-year-old, officials said Sunday. The victim, identified as Victor de la Paz, was behind the wheel Friday when troops fired at his vehicle in the Michoacan state town of Huetamo, the Defense Department said in a statement.

Soldiers were shooting at the tires, but at least one bullet struck and killed the youth, according to the statement.

A 19-year-old passenger was taken into custody.

Human rights groups have alleged abuses by soldiers deployed for more than a year as part of President Felipe Calderon's nationwide anti-drug offensive.

In June, 19 Mexican soldiers were charged with homicide in the killings of two women and three children whose vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa.

More than 24,000 agents have been sent to several states plagued by drug violence, including Calderon's home state of Michoacan in western Mexico.