On May 24, 1993, hit men, purportedly working for the Tijuana drug cartel, shot to death Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, the archbishop of Guadalajara, as he arrived at the Guadalajara airport to greet Vatican officials, in a dubious case of mistaken identity.
The slaying sent shock waves around the country, unleashing a slew of conspiracy theories.
According to the official version, the cardinal died as his vehicle drove into a firefight between rival gangs. Gunmen mowed him down, believing him to be drug lord Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman.
The Vatican has always rejected the theory. Independent forensic experts reported that there had been no crossfire and that the cardinal had been hit by 15 bullets at close range.
Church leaders have alleged that Posadas Ocampo had uncovered links between drug gangs and the government and was killed to prevent him from leaking the information. Another scenario has the cleric being killed as he tried to organize a truce between gangsters, or broker a deal between the cartels and the government.