Gunmen kill priest, 2 seminarians in Mexico

Acapulco, Mexico - Gunmen ordered a priest and two seminarians out of their vehicle and shot them dead in a drug-plagued region of western Mexico, authorities said Monday.

The three were killed as they drove through the town of Arcelia in Guerrero state to nearby Ciudad Altamirano to organize a spiritual retreat, said the Archbishop of Acapulco, Felipe Aguirre Franco.

Erit Montufar, Guerrero's director of investigative police, said no arrests have been made and no motive has been determined for the killings, which took place Saturday.

But Roman Catholic clergy in Mexico have complained that they are increasingly the targets of attacks and extortion demands as the nation wrestles with a wave of drug cartel-fueled violence.

"We have become hostages in this violent confrontations between the drug cartels living among us," Aguirre Franco said.

In April, priests in northern Mexico were urged to take extra precautions after an archbishop commented on where the nation's most-wanted trafficker may live.

The coastal state of Guerrero, which is used by drug traffickers to grow marijuana and opium poppies, has been mired in drug violence for years.

Also Monday, Mexico's attorney general's office said it charged 51 guards and prison officials, including the director, for their complicity in the escape of 53 inmates from a jail in Zacatecas state.

Security camera footage showed that guards at the Cieneguillas prison stood by as an armed gang walked out with the 53 inmates on May 16. About a dozen of the fugitives are drug cartel suspects.

The office also said it has arrested 9 mid-level military officers and turned over to them by the army for passing information to the Sinaloa drug cartel.

President Felipe Calderon has struggled to combat rising drug violence and corruption, sending 45,000 troops to drug hot spots since taking office in December 2006. More than 10,800 people have since died in drug-related incidents.