Eight former municipal police officers have received prison sentences of up to 52 years after they were found guilty of working for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and involvement in the disappearance of two federal agents.
A federal judge also convicted the ex-cops from Vista Hermosa, Michoacán, on charges of drug trafficking, possession of weapons restricted to the military and vehicle theft.
According to investigations completed by the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR), the former officers supplied information to the CJNG about the movements of state police, federal investigators and the army in the states of Michoacán and Jalisco.
In November 2013, the police kidnapped federal criminal investigators René Rojas Márquez and Gabriel Quijados Santiago in Vista Hermosa and handed them over to CJNG members who are believed to have killed them.
Statements made by the eight men led investigators to 35 clandestine graves in La Barca, Jalisco, where the remains of 67 people including two soldiers were found between November 2013 and February 2014.
However, the bodies of Rojas and Quijados have never been located.
The judge imposed sentences of 52 years and six months on five ex-officers and fined them more than 406,000 pesos (US $21,600) each.
The other former cops received jail terms of either 15 or 33 years as well as fines between 23,000 and 49,000 pesos (US$1,200 to $2,600).
Collusion between municipal police and organized crime is common in Mexico and has led to federal and state authorities disarming local forces and taking over policing duties in several states, most recently in Acapulco, Guerrero, and Zamora, Michoacán.
With poor pay and often limited training, municipal police can be easy targets for criminal groups, who offer financial incentives in exchange for cooperating with them and sometimes threaten to kill them if they don’t.
Source: Milenio (sp)