Mexican Federal Prosecutor Arrested for Drug Ties

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced the arrest of a federal prosecutor in Saltillo, capital of the northern state of Coahuila, for allegedly providing protection to the violent Los Zetas drug cartel.

Claudia Gonzalez Lopez’s arrest occurred Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation in which other suspects also are being sought, Attorney General Marisela Morales told reporters, adding they will remain unidentified because they are “on the verge of being detained.”

The prosecutor has been jailed in Coahuila for alleged links to organized crime and a federal judge will soon determine her legal status, Morales said Thursday.

As soon as more arrests are made in the case, the Siedo organized crime unit of the AG’s office’s will provide more details, the attorney general said.

According to Morales, the arrest shows the AG’s office is fighting an “unprecedented” all-out war on corruption at all levels of the institution.

“We are firmly committed to punishing whomever betrays (the public) trust, no matter who that may be,” Morales said.

Founded by deserters from an elite special forces unit, Los Zetas began as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel, but ended that relationship in March 2010 to go into business for themselves.

Regarded as Mexico’s most ruthless cartel, Los Zetas was behind last August’s daytime arson attack on a casino in the northern metropolis of Monterrey that left 52 employees and gamblers dead. Zetas gunmen allegedly torched the gaming establishment after its owner refused to pay protection money.

It also is suspected in the 2010 slayings in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas of 72 illegal immigrants, mostly Central Americans, who were apparently killed after refusing to work for the cartel as couriers or enforcers.

The Zetas also are blamed for the murder of around 200 people whose bodies were found in 2011 in a series of clandestine graves, also in Tamaulipas.

The group has drawn the ire of older, established cartels through its extensive involvement in extortion, kidnapping for ransom and robbery, crimes that the other drug mobs generally eschew out of a desire to avoid antagonizing the general public

Mexico is mired in a wave of organized crime-related violence that left 47,515 dead between December 2006 – when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the country’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs – and Sept. 30, 2011, according to official figures. EFE

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