Mexican prosecutors announced Thursday they have filed kidnapping and organize crime charges against seven police officers accused of protecting hit men working for the feared Tijuana-based Arellano Felix drug cartel.

The men served in the police department in Ensenada, a tourist town 45 miles south of the California border, and they allegedly kidnapped people involved in the drug trade and held them for ransom, the Attorney General's Office said in a press statement.

They also protected members of the "Black Commando," a group of hit men working for the Arellano Felix cartel, authorities said.

They are being held at a prison in Mexico City pending trial.

Authorities arrested the group in Ensenada in August on suspicion they were operating a kidnap ring and prosecutors say they were involved in at least three recent kidnappings, one of which ended with the slaying of a captive.

The group includes the former deputy director for operations of the Ensenada police, Francisco Javier Barriga, the department's Tactical Group chief, Jorge Alberto Cisneros, and five other police officers.