Mexico: Cops Who Fired on U.S. Vehicle May be Cartel Thugs

Published: 03 October 2012


Mexican federal police who opened fire on an armored U.S. embassy vehicle and wounded two CIA agents in August may have been working for organized crime, the AP reports. A senior U.S. official said that there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Mexican officers were carrying out a targeted assassination attempt.

The shooting took place on a rural road south of Mexico City, which the AP calls “known territory” of what was once the Beltran Leyva cartel. Smaller splinter groups are now warring for the area.  A Mexican official said that members of Beltran Leyva may have been interested in attacking the vehicle because some lookouts had seen them passing through and presumed they were investigating the cartel.

A carload of gunmen fired on the Toyota SUV and gave chase. Three other cars joined the original vehicle and occupants of all four vehicles fired, the AP reports. The U.S. official said that these were automatic weapons, fired “with the intention of penetrating the armor and presumably killing those who are inside.”

The Mexican official said only federal police fired on the SUV. Twelve officers have been detained.

Multiple lines of investigation are still being pursued, but according to one security expert in Mexico, the attack was a calculated ambush. “The objective was to annihilate the three passengers in the car,” he said.

Mexican law enforcement and military personnel have long been known to work for various drug cartels, often acting as hit squads. More than 50,000 people have died over the past decade in drug-related violence in Mexico.