Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mexico Honors 15 Fallen Officers

Mexico City – Mexico’s Public Safety Secretariat honored 15 Federal Police officers killed this week in Michoacan and Chihuahua states.

Of the 15 officers, 12 died in an ambush Monday in Michoacan, a state in western Mexico, and the three others died the same day in Chihuahua city, the capital of the like-named state.

The ceremony, which took place Tuesday in Mexico City, was attended by Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna and Government Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont.

Officials presented the flags that covered the officers’ caskets to the families at the end of the ceremony.

The Cabinet secretaries promised the officers’ survivors financial support, payment of funeral expenses, disbursement of life insurance funds and scholarships for children.

Gunmen ambushed a Federal Police unit on Monday near Zitacuaro, a city in Michoacan, killing 10 officers. Two other officers died later at a hospital.

The officers, who were providing security in several cities in Michoacan, were attacked as they traveled from Ciudad Hidalgo, a city in Michoacan, to the Federal District, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

The ambush occurred in downtown Zitacuaro, located 168 kilometers (104 miles) west of Mexico City, near a place called Lengua de Vaca.

Michoacan is a stronghold of La Familia Michoacana, a drug cartel infamous for decapitating and dismembering enemies, as well as for mounting attacks on the security forces.

Gunmen working for La Familia Michoacana murdered 12 Federal Police officers – 11 men and one woman – in an ambush in July 2009 in retaliation for the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda, one of the cartel’s bosses.

Three Federal Police officers were killed and a fourth was wounded in an attack by gunmen in Chihuahua city on Monday.

The gunmen ambushed the federal officers while they were on an intelligence-gathering mission, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.

The border state of Chihuahua is Mexico’s most dangerous state.

More than 23,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

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