LA PAZ – Two people were killed in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz region, which borders Brazil and Paraguay, in a shootout involving suspected drug traffickers and police officers who allegedly kidnapped one of the criminals, officials said.
The incident occurred Friday in Warnes, a town about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the city of Santa Cruz, FELCN drug enforcement agency regional chief Col. Miguel Gonzalez said.
Walter Torrez Tejerina, a suspected drug trafficker, and Mario Alejandro Rojas Flores, a former drug enforcement agent, died in the shootout, which is under investigation, media reports said.
Four officers from a special FELCN intelligence unit were arrested for their alleged involvement in Torrez’s kidnapping, Government Minister Carlos Romero said.
The officers tried to extort money from a family “independent of whether it had or did not have links to drug trafficking,” Romero said.
Investigators should make every effort to move the probe forward quickly, the minister said.
The officers kidnapped Torrez to get a $20,000 ransom, family attorney Denver Pedraza said.