Page last updated at 23:44 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mexico drugs boss Beltran Leyva's death scene 'altered'

The flat where Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed, 17 December 2009
Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed in a flat south of Mexico City

Six Mexican forensics experts have been suspended for allegedly altering the crime scene after the killing of top drugs cartel boss Arturo Beltran Leyva.

The cartel chief's half naked, bullet-ridden body was photographed with bloodstained banknotes laid across it.

He was killed earlier this month after a lengthy gun battle between cartel members and security forces.

The suspended workers have claimed that an unnamed federal official ordered them to alter the scene.

The Mexican Interior Department has denied that any federal official was involved.

Those suspended include a criminal expert, a photographer, and a doctor, officials said.

Investigators are trying to establish whether they placed the money and other objects on the drug cartel leader's corpse, the Efe news agency reported.

Arturo Beltran Leyva
One of Mexico's most-wanted drug traffickers
Had $2.3m bounty on his head
One of five brothers

They face disciplinary action for failing to respect the proper procedures for the removal of a corpse.

Arturo Beltran Leyva led one of Mexico's most powerful and violent drugs gangs.

He is one of five brothers who split from the Sinaloa cartel and aligned themselves with Los Zetas, a group of former soldiers hired by the Gulf Cartel as hit men.

The split is believed to have fuelled much of the bloodshed across Mexico, where more than 14,000 people have died in drugs-related violence since 2006.

He was killed after troops raided his flat south of Mexico City on 16 December.

Shortly afterwards, gunmen targeted the family of a marine who died in the raid, killing four of them in an apparent reprisal.

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