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Tragedy In Mexico

The United States offers its sympathy and condolences to the people of Mexico and the families of the officials killed in a plane crash last week. Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo was a dedicated and highly respected government leader, and his loss will be felt in the U.S. as keenly as in his homeland.

A government jet carrying Secretary Mourino and his colleagues crashed on a flight Tuesday from San Luis Potosi to Mexico City. All aboard the plane were killed and at least 40 people on the ground were injured when the aircraft fell to the ground on its approach to the Mexico City airport.

Authorities say that based on audiotapes of radio transmissions between the pilot and control tower, the crash appears to have been an accident, perhaps to due to a mechanical malfunction. An investigation is under way and the United States government is helping, at the request of the government of Mexico.

Mr. Mourino, who served as Mexico's Interior Secretary, was a close adviser to his country's president, Felipe Calderon. As Mexico's top security official, he played a pivotal role in efforts to battle the country's illegal and violent drug cartels. He worked closely with his American counterpart to fight the illegal drug and weapons trafficking that have become major security issues for both nations.

"Today we not only mourn the loss of our friends and colleagues, but stand in solidarity with the Mexican people," said U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza.

The U.S. will do all it can to aid Mexican authorities in their investigation of what caused the fatal crash. Investigators from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been sent to assist, and a thorough report is expected.