Mexican authorities say Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora, "the highest ranking official in the country after the president" and the person in charge of the fight against drug cartels, has been killed in a helicopter crash, The Associated Press reports from Mexico City. Seven other people also died, according to the Mexican government.
Reuters says that local media are reporting that the minister's helicopter went down south of Mexico City.
The BBC adds that Blake took his position "in July last year" and notes that his ministry "oversees police forces fighting drug cartels."
According to a Bloomberg News report in July 2010, "Blake, [then] 44, was the secretary-general of Baja California state, a position that functions as second-in-command after the governor," before taking his current job. "He was a federal congressman between 2000 and 2003," Bloomberg added, and "played a 'fundamental' role in confronting organized crime in Baja California, said [President Felipe] Calderon, who served as a lawmaker during the same period as Blake."
Update at 3:56 p.m. ET Weather Conditions?:
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the helicopter crash was likely caused by weather conditions, the AP reports.
"'The cloudy conditions at the time certainly make you think about the probability of an accident,' Calderon said in a televised address.
"'Regardless, there were will be exhaustive investigations into the circumstances around the fatal incident.'"