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Latino Daily News

Thursday October 4, 2012

Mexican Cops Involved in Attack on U.S. Embassy SUV Remain in Custody

Mexican Cops Involved in Attack on U.S. Embassy SUV Remain in Custody

Photo: Scene of the shooting

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A judge has ordered that 12 Mexican Federal Police officers implicated in a shooting attack on a U.S. Embassy vehicle be held for another 40 days, Attorney General Marisela Morales said.

The suspects are being held under a measure known as “arraigo” (preventative detention), a controversial instrument under which Mexican authorities can hold people linked to serious crimes for up to 80 days without formal charges.

There has been progress in the investigation, Morales told reporters after signing an agreement Wednesday with the Mexico United Against Crime civic organization to promote a “culture of legality.”

Asked about U.S. media reports Tuesday in which a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying the police involved in the shooting had organized crime links, Morales said “we’re continuing to pursue all the lines of investigation and nothing’s been ruled out yet.”

“The ‘arraigo’ has been extended for another 40 days and that’s going to allow us to delve into and exhaust each line of investigation. We’ve made significant progress, but to preserve the secrecy of the investigation, we can’t reveal any information,” she added.

On Aug. 24, two U.S. Embassy officials - both security experts - were shot and wounded by Mexican Federal Police while traveling in an armored SUV with diplomatic plates on a road in the central state of Morelos.

The officers involved in the shooting were investigating the kidnapping of a federal official, the Public Safety Secretariat said, while the U.S. Embassy in Mexico initially described the incident as an “ambush.”

A judge initially ordered the 12 police held under “arraigo” for 40 days while they are investigated for alleged “abuse of authority” and other crimes, but Morales said Tuesday the preventative detention order had been extended to the maximum allowed by law.

The attorney general, meanwhile, refused to comment on other U.S. media reports indicating that guns that entered Mexico as part of an alleged federal gun-running probe known as “Fast and Furious” have been used by organized crime gangs to carry out massacres.

“We’re exchanging all the information with them (the U.S. authorities) that could help solve some isolated cases we have and that we’ve detected. But as for the rest, it’s still not the time to reveal anything,” Morales said.