Mexico Arrests 16 Police Officers in Case of Massacre in Tamaulipas
By Dialogo April 18, 2011
Mexican authorities announced on 13 April that they had arrested 16 municipal police officers who had allegedly protected members of the Los Zetas cartel believed to have massacred at least 116 people whose bodies were recently found in mass graves in the northern part of the country.
The victims’ corpses were found days earlier in the locality of San Fernando, in the northern state of Tamaulipas, a battlefield for the violent Los Zetas cartel.
“Sixteen members of the municipal police were taken into custody (…) who had allegedly collaborated in protecting the criminal group in the region (…) and who covered up for those probably responsible,” Marisela Morales, the federal attorney-general (PGR), said at a press conference.
In addition, Morales said that the government is offering rewards of up to 15 million pesos (1.2 million dollars) for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the massacre.
The official reiterated that, up to the present, seventeen individuals are under arrest on charges of participating in the executions.
“The government of the Republic reiterates its commitment to shed light on these lamentable and reprehensible homicides and to crush the corruption of police forces that collude with organized crime,” the attorney-general said.
The Mexican cartels, especially Los Zetas, have made a profitable business out of kidnapping migrants, often in complicity with police officers or immigration agents. They also try to incorporate them into their ranks and kill them if they refuse.
Many of the dead are believed to have been passengers on two buses, operated by an interstate company, that were on their way to the border with the United States.
More than 37,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006 and launched a frontal campaign against the drug cartels, using federal police and the Army.