Catholic priests in Mexico are being targeted with extortion, beatings and even murder by El Chapo's brutal Sinaloa Cartel leading some to claim it's the most dangerous place to be a cleric in the world.
The shocking incidents are a sign that gang violence in the country is increasing as Mexico is the second-most devout Catholic country in the world.
Up until recently, priests have escaped the worst of the gang violence, however, that has changed in recent months.
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On June 20, two priests were murdered by a gunman inside a church in Chihuahua sparking outrage across the country.
The suspect, José Noriel Portillo Gil, alias "El Chueco", is a well-known member of the Sinaloa Cartel and is currently on the run with a $250,000 bounty on his head.
Sadly, the murders are far from an isolated incident.
Numerous priests in the country have complained that they have been threatened and hassled at criminal checkpoints throughout the country.
Insight Crime reports that 12% of all churches in the country have been targeted by robbers who make off with the gold and silver inside.
If priests refuse to co-operate, they face being beaten severely by the gangs.
The spate of violence against the Catholic church is reminiscent of Channel 4's classic Father Ted sitcom in which the hapless priests are threatened with the prospect of being sent to remote and dangerous parishes on earth.
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