Marines in Mexico detain 35 Veracruz police officers

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's marines on Monday said they detained 35 Veracruz state police officers who were allegedly working for the Zetas drug cartel.

In a short statement, authorities said the police officers were detained Saturday in two groups, 16 at the airport in the city of San Luis Potosi, in a neighboring state of the same name, and 19 in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz.

The marines released the names of the suspected officers but did not offer other details on the arrests or say why they were suspected of working for the Zetas. Four of those arrested were women, the marines said.

Veracruz's government did not have an immediate response to the announcement. 

The state has endured intense drug-related violence and crimes as its crucial port on the Gulf of Mexico becomes disputed turf for the Zetas and their rivals, including the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels, and a paramilitary group calling itself the "Zeta-killers." Reporters and photojournalists have been targeted and killed.

The marines are considered a leading elite force against organized crime in Mexico's ongoing drug war.

Marines this month captured suspected Gulf cartel leader Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias "El Coss," in the city of Tampico. In August, a naval officer was involved in a wild shootout that left two U.S. government employees injured on a road south of Mexico City.

The arrested Veracruz police officers were taken to Mexico City for questioning, authorities said.

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-- Daniel Hernandez

 
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