11 Mexican federal agents charged with kidnapping, murder in connection with drug DVD | VailDaily.com

11 Mexican federal agents charged with kidnapping, murder in connection with drug DVD

MEXICO CITY – Eleven federal agents were charged with kidnapping for picking up four alleged drug hit men and possibly helping kill them, the Mexican Attorney General’s office said Thursday.At least one of the presumed hit men was shot in the head, a killing recorded on a homemade DVD, excerpts of which were published Thursday on the Web sites of The Dallas Morning News and the Kitsap Sun, a newspaper in Bremerton, Wash.The federal agents – who also face charges of drug trafficking, organized crime and weapons possession – were paid by a rival cartel, said Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, Mexico’s top anti-drug prosecutor.Vasconcelos said he is working to gather evidence to charge the federal agents with homicide or as accessories.He said the DVD was likely to spark a new wave of violence among traffickers looking to settle personal scores. The DVD killing was likely carried out as part of a dispute by rival drug gangs, Vasconcelos said.Mexican officials said Thursday they have known about the DVD for months. The men shown on the video are purported hit men for the Gulf Cartel.Jose Luis Manjarrez, spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, said authorities were investigating who made the DVD, as well as allegations by the men that they received protection from Mexican security forces.”The authorities knew about this video months ago,” Manjarrez said.Manjarrez said that details on the DVD, like the discussion of the April killing of radio reporter Dolores Garcia Escamilla in northern Mexico, lend credence to its authenticity.Presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar declined to elaborate on the investigation.”We do have information on the video. The Attorney General’s Office is handling this case,” he said.The DVD, time-stamped May 16, was sent anonymously to the Kitsap Sun last month. That newspaper forwarded it to the Morning News.Both newspapers posted excerpts of the DVD on their Web sites, but neither showed the shooting.The excerpts show four men sitting bruised, bloody and bound before a curtain of black garbage bags. Prodded by an unseen interrogator, they describe themselves as hit men for the Gulf Cartel, detailing how they kidnapped, tortured and killed their enemies, including the radio reporter, the Morning News reported.”I’m a recruiter for the Zetas,” one of the men is heard saying on the DVD, referring to a band of Mexican soldiers-turned-hit men believed to work for the Gulf cartel.On April 5, 39-year-old Escamilla, a radio reporter in Nuevo Laredo across the border from Laredo, Texas, was shot eight times by a lone assailant as she arrived at work. The attacker has never been identified.In addition to such crimes, the men discuss what they describe as the planned killing of Alejandro Dominguez, according to the Morning News. Dominguez was gunned down June 8 hours after becoming the Nuevo Laredo police chief.Dominguez’s killing prompted President Vicente Fox to send more federal troops and agents to the city, which is on the front line of Mexican drug cartels’ battle for territory.On the DVD, the Morning News reported, the alleged hit men claim to be working with Mexican law enforcement. Two of the men say they are former soldiers trying to recruit military colleagues and federal agents to work for the cartel.—–On the Net:www.dallasnews.comwww.kitsapsun.comVail, Colorado

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