Mexican Police Officers Arrested in Assassination-Linked Raid

Hundreds of Mexican federal police and soldiers surrounded the headquarters of Tabasco's state police and arrested top current and former commanders in a raid apparently linked to an assassination attempt against the state's public safety secretary.

The federal officers disarmed police at the state public safety headquarters at Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco located 410 miles east of Mexico City, and arrested three top state police commanders there, as well as two other former commanders detained elsewhere, said Tabasco state Interior Secretary Humberto Mayans.

The raid — in which 350 federal police and about 150 soldiers disarmed state police — followed a March 6 shooting attack in which retired Gen. Francisco Fernandez Solis, the new head of state public safety, was wounded and his driver killed.

No charges against the men were immediately announced, but the five detainees were taken to the offices of the Assistant Attorney General for Investigation of Organized Crime in Mexico City for questioning. Mayans said the arrests were related to the ongoing investigation into the attack on Fernandez Solis.

After the raid, state police officers returned to their duties with only nightsticks, while armed federal officers performed patrols.

While investigators had originally said they thought the attack on Fernandez Solis had been carried out by drug traffickers, Saturday's arrests appeared to lend credence to reports the shooting had been the work of a shadowy "brotherhood" of rogue policemen angered by the new security secretary's rigorous approach to combatting the drug trade and other crimes.