A splinter group of the Zetas drug cartel infiltrated an elite division of the San Luis Potosí state police as well as forces in at least three municipalities.
Members of the gang known as Los Talibanes have been hired as police officers in the municipalities of Ciudad del Maíz, El Naranjo and Cárdenas, San Luis Potosí Public Security Secretary Jaime Pineda Arteaga said.
He added that the mayors of the three municipalities have refused to reveal how many gang members they have employed.
According to a report in the newspaper Reforma, members of the same gang previously infiltrated the elite unit of the state police while it was under the command of former state security secretary Arturo Gutiérrez García.
However, the unit was disbanded after Gutiérrez’s resignation in November 2017.
Four alleged members of Los Talibanes who went on to work in municipal forces were arrested last month but only two remain in custody.
On January 20, two Ciudad del Maíz municipal police officers identified as Talibanes were arrested on charges of possessing drugs as well as weapons for which they didn’t have a license.
Four days after they were detained, the two men were released from custody after a judge ruled that their arrest was illegal because it occurred without a search warrant at a private address.
Two other police identified as Talibanes were also arrested last month, the San Luis Potosí Attorney General’s office said.
The officers, members of the Cárdenas municipal force, face homicide charges after allegedly killing two men on January 3.
Los Talibanes, a gang founded in Tamaulipas, takes its name from Iván Velázquez Caballero, a criminal leader known as “El Talibán” and “El Z-50” who was arrested in 2012 and extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to 30 years in prison on drug trafficking charges.
Before he was captured, Velázquez broke ties with Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales – “El Z-40” – with whom he worked in Los Zetas.
He allied himself with the Gulf Cartel to wage a war against Treviño, who was one of Mexico’s most wanted drug lords until his arrest in 2013.
El Talibán’s namesake criminal gang is also under investigation in San Luis Potosí for a gun attack earlier this month on Pedro César Carrizales Becerra, a state lawmaker and former gangster known as “El Mijis.”
Authorities believe the attack could be retaliation for a bill presented by Carrizales to ban bullfighting and cockfighting in San Luis Potosí. The latter blood sport is controlled by criminal groups in some parts of the state.
At least five bullets were shot at Carrizales’ car but the lawmaker was not injured.
Source: Reforma (sp)