Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Drug unit 'corrupted' in Mexico

Drug arrest in Mexico
The officers allegedly supplied information on raids and surveillance

Members of an elite Mexican anti-drug unit passed information to a drug cartel in exchange for thousands of dollars, prosecutors say.

They said police agents and senior officials gave sensitive information to the Beltran Leyva organisation.

Assistant Attorney General Marisela Morales said those involved had received up to $450,000 (290,000) a month from the cartel.

They allegedly told the cartel about potential raids and surveillance.

Five officials in the anti-crime unit were arrested, four of them weeks ago.

The passing of information is alleged to have lasted for much of the past four years.

'Spy' claims

The security breach is being described as the worst case of infiltration by traffickers of the Mexican law enforcement system in a decade.

The country's Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said: "We conducted investigations which showed that members of the deputy attorney general's office were providing classified information about operatives working against the Beltran Leyva organisation to members of that organisation in exchange for large amounts of money."

One worker said he spied from within the US embassy on the Drug Enforcement Administration, one Mexican official told the Associated Press news agency.

The US embassy said it did not comment on internal matters.

The attorney general said there were indications that other spies still worked inside his agency.

The Beltran Leyva brothers lead one of the groups that make up northern Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, the country's largest drug-trafficking confederation.

The most serious known infiltration of Mexican anti-crime agencies was in 1997 when General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, then head of Mexico's anti-drug agency, was arrested.

He was later convicted of aiding drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

Mexico arrests top drugs suspect
21 Jan 08 |  Americas

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific