MEXICO CITY – A Mexican judge decided to bring to trial 18 municipal police officers, among them several chiefs, for their presumed links to “Los Zetas,” the brutal enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel, in the southern state of Tabasco, the national Attorney General’s Office, or PGR, announced Sunday.
The officers were arrested last week for their alleged links to the murders of the police coordinator in the municipality of Humanaguillo, in Tabasco state, Sael Jimenez Salaya, and civilian Juan Manuel Jacinto Rodriguez.
The arrested policemen also stand accused of authorizing protection for organized crime operations, especially the Zetas, said the PGR in a communique.
Among the arrested people are four police chiefs, 13 municipal officers and a former police official.
Since last year, federal authorities here have been conducting Operation Cleanup within the main national institutions charged with fighting organized crime, and a number of top officials – among them Noe Ramirez, who was anti-drug czar from December 2006 to June 2008 – have been arrested.
Authorities are also carrying out a purge among the state and municipal police, which together field more than 400,000 officers, because it is presumed that a large number of them are linked to organized crime, particularly to drug traffickers and kidnappers.