Mexico: Fourth military official held in cartel probe
By Dialogo May 21, 2012
MEXICO CITY — Soldiers arrested retired lieutenant colonel Silvio Hernández Soto on May 18 in connection with a drug investigation for which two generals and a soldier have been detained, Mexico’s defense secretariat SEDENA said.
A prosecution source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the arrests are related to bribes allegedly paid by the Beltrán-Leyva drug cartel, a group that Mexican security forces have crippled in the past few years.
Retired general Tomás Ángeles was arrested May 15, the same day as Brigadier General Roberto Dawe, who is in active service and was assigned to a base in the state of Colima on Mexico’s Pacific coast, a key transit route for illegal narcotics heading north into the lucrative U.S. market.
On May 17, officials arrested retired brigadier general Ricardo Escorcia, the defense ministry said.
Federal anti-drug prosecutors said they interrogated Ángeles and Dawe, and on May 17 ordered that they remain in custody. Under Mexican law, authorities can hold suspects for up to 40 days without pressing charges.
Escorcia and Hernández are being held for a first interrogation, after which officials will determine whether they will be held or released.
The men are part of “an investigation for crimes relating to organized criminal activities,” the federal prosecutor’s office said.
The probe is being carried out “with full respect for their rights,” the SEDENA said.
Ángeles’ lawyer, Alejandro Ortega, told Milenio radio that the bribe allegations are based on hearsay, and that the accusers “had never seen” the general.
[AFP, 20/05/2012; Vanguardia.com.mx (Mexico), 19/05/20212]