Mexico: 45 police accused of being in Zetas cartel

Nearly 37,000 people have been killed in a wave of violence since 2006.

Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 15:40 PM IST

Monterrey: Authorities have arrested 45 police in a town in northern Mexico over alleged ties to the Zetas drug ring, a state investigating agency reported on Wednesday.

"There have been 45 of them (police) arrested in Cadereyta," a spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state investigating agency said, noting the arrests were made late Tuesday.

The detained are being investigated for links to the Zetas, whom the government has blamed for killing the 145 people whose remains were exhumed from mass graves this month in neighbouring Tamaulipas state.

Meanwhile, police rescued at least 68 people from Mexico and Central America who had been kidnapped while on a bus in Tamaulipas trying to make it illegally to the United States, the public safety ministry said.

The 68 had been held in a house in Reynosa before they were freed; they said they were abducted by the Gulf drugs cartel. Two presumed kidnappers were arrested in nearby McAllen, Texas.

Not far from Reynosa is the village of San Fernando, where this month authorities found the remains of 145 people in mass graves; the government has blamed the Zetas. In the same village, 72 migrants from Central and South America were massacred in August 2010.

Tamaulipas state has suffered an explosion of violence for more than a year blamed on battles between the Zetas -- a gang formed in the 1990s by ex-elite soldiers -- and their former bosses, the powerful Gulf cartel.

Separately, Mexican police killed 10 suspected gunmen after a high-speed chase and an intense shootout that saw a car full of armed men crash into a passenger bus, authorities said.

The state government in Veracruz said it had arrested another 10 people in Tuesday`s incident.

The Mexican Navy said one of the gunmen`s vehicles, believed to have had grenades on board, "lost control and crashed" into the bus before exploding.

Two charred corpses were found inside the car but that none of the bus passengers were wounded, it said.

The state government said the chase began with an anonymous tip-off that armed men were operating in the north of the Gulf port city of 800,000 people.

Nearly 37,000 people have been killed in a wave of violence since Mexico launched a military crackdown on powerful and increasingly brutal drug cartels in 2006.

Bureau Report