Sad news today as Maria Susana Flores Gamez (photos below) was gunned down in a battle between Mexican soldiers and alleged members of Orso Iván Gastélum. The details are complicated and it seems that the beauty queen had ties to criminals, and in fact may have even participated in the shoot out.

(Photo of Maria Susana Flores Gamez)

This story is so sad, simply because a beautiful young woman was killed for no real reason. It is just heart wrenching, and even more so if the suspicions are confirmed that she did have ties to the criminals. The state attorney general mentioned that this is a possibility, though they have yet to elaborate on that statement. What is known is what state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera has revealed thus far – that Maria was on her way to work and was caught up in the cross fire. In addition to Marie Susana, two other members of the drug gang were killed and four were detained.

“She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout. That’s what we’re going to have to investigate.”

Maria Susana was a gorgeous girl and had participated in a few beauty pageants. She was named the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in February and had also completed in the Our Beauty Sinaloa, but she didn’t win or place in the contest.

It is concerning that this it the third instance where a beauty queen was linked to Mexican drug gangs. In 2008, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant, after she was detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. Though she was later released without charges, she and seven men were detained in western Mexico. The men were suspected drug traffickers and the authorities found weapons, ammunition and $53,300 inside their vehicle.

Then in 2011, a Colombian pageant contestant was detained along with Jose Jorge Balderas, an accused drug trafficker. It seems that the young beauty queens have an attraction to this dangerous lifestyle and these badboy gang members.

Javier Valdez, wrote about ties to beauty pageants in his book titled “Miss Narco,” in which he calls “this is a recurrent story.”

“There is a relationship, sometimes pleasant and sometimes tragic, between organized crime and the beauty queens, the pageants, the beauty industry itself. It is a question of privilege, power, money, but also a question of need,” said Valdez. “For a lot of these young women, it is easy to get involved with organized crime, in a country that doesn’t offer many opportunities for young people.”

Maria Susana Flores Gamez’s body has been returned to her parents for burial. I hope she was not tied into the gangs and she was just caught in the corssfire. She was a beautiful girl with so much life ahead. Check out more pictures below, along with video of the shoot out and of Maria’s beauty pageant.

(Click each thumbnail to enlarge.)