Mexico officers arrested, accused of ties to drug cartel

Mexican police, shown here last month awaiting transport of a cartel suspect, have cracked down on drug trafficking.
Mexican federal authorities have arrested 124 law enforcement officials in Hidalgo state on suspicion of being linked to the Zetas drug cartel, considered the nation’s most ruthless and dangerous crime syndicate.

Most of those arrested were municipal police officers, but there also were some high-level state and federal officials, according to the Mexico attorney general’s office. Among them were Juan Antonio Franco Bustos, chief of coordination for Hidalgo state security; Julio Cesar Sanchez Amador, head of public security in the city of Mineral de la Reforma; Mario Hernandez Almonasi, director of the auto theft unit for the state ministerial police; Raul Batres Campos, regional chief for the Federal Investigation Agency; and Jose Esteban Olvera Jimenez, a deputy director with the state security service, the attorney general’s office said. Hidalgo is in central Mexico. Los Zetas was formed about 10 years ago by Mexican army commandos but now consists mainly of former local, state and federal police.

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“The Zetas have obviously assumed the role of being the No. 1 organization responsible for the majority of the homicides, the narcotic-related homicides, the beheadings, the kidnappings, the extortions that take place in Mexico,” said Ralph Reyes, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s chief for Mexico and Central America.