Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mexican Police Accused of Protecting Beltran Leyva Drug Cartel

Via Yahoo! News (AP) -

Three police officers and two other men were arrested on suspicion of working for a drug cartel in central Mexico, federal authorities said Sunday. A former state security chief and the police chief of a state capital were detained for questioning.

Investigators uncovered the alleged police corruption ring after the arrest earlier this month of 14 alleged members of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, the Public Safety Department said in a statement.

The head of the Morelos police vehicle recovery unit was arrested for allegedly selling stolen cars and auto parts to the cartel, the statement said, while a former state police officer was arrested on suspicion of serving as a hit man.

Two Cuernavaca municipal police officers were accused of stealing cars and kidnapping for the Beltran Leyva gang, and a fifth suspect was also arrested as an alleged hit man.

Federal police came under fire as they raided a Cuernavaca building where four of the suspects were arrested Saturday, the department said. Police confiscated several weapons inside along with a banner bearing an unspecified message for President Felipe Calderon.

Federal investigators are questioning former Morelos state Public Safety Secretary Luis Angel Cabeza de Vaca Rodriguez and Cuernavaca police chief Francisco Sanchez Gonzalez, according to an Attorney General's Office press officer. The official, who could not be named because of agency policy, declined to provide further details.


In related news...

Mexican soldiers acting on an anonymous tip arrested Rodolfo Lopez Ibarra, a lieutenant in Beltran Leyva Organization, on Tuesday at an airport in the northern city of Monterrey, as a convoy of armed men waited to ferry him to a luxury house and a set of offices in an upscale suburb.


The soldiers who arrested Lopez Ibarra, his pilot and 12 other suspects also seized 14 guns, a grenade, ammunition, drugs, cash, and a banner warning President Felipe Calderon to "show respect or face the consequences of our people." They were headed to luxury suites in the suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, one of Mexico's wealthiest communities, authorities said.

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