Mexico to charge police officers in attack against CIA agents

After an ambush that injured US CIA operatives, the Mexican government has indicated they are close to charging police officers, who they say may be corrupt. 

Margarito Perez Retana/Reuters
A yellow police line reading "PGR (Attorney General's Office) Criminalistics" delimits the area where US officials and Mexican investigators work at the scene where two CIA officers were shot on a road near Tres Marias, outside Mexico City September 10. Two CIA agents operating in Mexico were shot and wounded by Mexican federal police just south of the capital.

Mexico said on Wednesday it was close to charging police officers with deliberately targeting two US agents in an August attack that caused serious embarrassment to the Mexican government.

Security officials identified the men as CIA agents, and Mexican investigators have said the attack may have been carried out by corrupt police working with drug gangs.

The incident, which police first blamed on a case of mistaken identity, was the worst attack against US officials in Mexico since drug gang hit men killed a US immigration agent and wounded his colleague in a highway attack in early 2011.

Mexico's attorney general said police were likely to be prosecuted for the ambush of the two agents as they traveled in a vehicle with diplomatic plates on a road south of Mexico City.

"At the moment everything points to the fact that there will be people to charge," said attorney general Maries Morales. "We're now carefully analyzing the conduct of each officer to ascertain what exactly they can be charged with."

The CIA has declined to comment on the incident. Mexican authorities have detained 14 people in connection with the case.

Cooperation between US and Mexican forces has increased since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels in late 2006.

A greater number of US security officials have been discretely working in Mexico to aid in Calderon efforts as the battle between warring drug gangs and the government escalated. More than 60,000 people have died in the violence since 2007.

According to security experts, U.S. intelligence officials have developed strong ties with the Mexican Navy, which has scored a string of recent high profile takedown of drug lords.

The ambushed CIA operatives - who were on their way to a Mexican military base accompanied by a Mexican marine captain when they were attacked - received non-life threatening injuries and quickly left Mexico. The police officers said in statements that they confused those inside the car for criminals.

Nonetheless, Mexican officials have said the evidence suggested gang members worked alongside police in the attack, noting that the officers' use of AK47s and the fact that they were not wearing uniforms suggested a targeted cartel hit.

Mexican police are frequently implicated in violent crimes, as drug cartels infiltrate their ranks and bribe officials.

Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Michael O'Boyle and Todd Eastham

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.