UPDATE: Mexican Beauty Queen Found With Gun, Used as a Human Shield

AP Photo

Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez, 20, was killed in a shooting over the weekend that involved military and a group of armed men, reportedly involved in drug trafficking. Gamez's boyfriend and three other people were also killed in the shootings that took place in Caitime in Sinaloa, reports Fox News Latino

At first, Maria was said to have been involved, but with little evidence of participation. "She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout," state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said. "That's what we're going to have to investigate."

Now, it seems, the beauty queen had a gun in her hand during the encounter and was being used as a human shield, reports Fox News Latino

This is at least the third instance in which a beauty queen or pageant contestant has been linked to Mexico's drug gangs, reports the Associated Press. It's a theme that has even been taken to the movies -- as the subject of a critically acclaimed 2011 movie titled Miss Bala (Miss Bullet).

Javier Valdez, the author of the 2009 book Miss Narco about drug ties to beauty pageants said "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," Valdez said.

"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."

At the time of death, Gamez held the title "2012 Woman of Sinaloa." She was a model and was taking classes at a local university. 

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Samantha Leal, Senior Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

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