Maria Susana Flores Gamez was found dead Saturday, lying near an assault rifle on a rural road in a mountainous area of the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa. It was unclear if she had used the weapon.
Authorities said the model was traveling with an alleged gang of drug traffickers. Two other members of the drug gang were also killed and four were detained.
Six vehicles, drugs and weapons were seized following the confrontation. It was at least the third instance in which a beauty queen or pageant contestants have been linked to Mexico's violent drug gangs, a theme so common it was the subject of the 2011 movie "Miss Bala," or "Miss Bullet."
Flores Gamez was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in February. In June, she competed in the more prestigious state beauty contest, Our Beauty Sinaloa, but didn't win.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.