[QODLink]
Americas

Mexican police charged over 'attack on CIA'

Fourteen federal police officers who shot and wounded alleged CIA agents in August are charged with attempted murder.
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2012 10:09
Policemen were wearing civilian clothes and driving private cars when they shot at the US embassy staff [EPA]

Fourteen Mexican federal police officers have been charged with attempted murder over a shooting in August that
wounded two US government employees, reportedly CIA agents.

The officers were charged on Friday and the Mexican attorney general's office said in a statement they had been formally placed under arrest.

The statement did not indicate why the federal police officers opened fire. A spokesman for the prosecutor's office did not return calls seeking comment.

The attorney-general's office said the police officers "attempted to take the life of two employees of the US embassy" and a Mexican navy officer who was travelling with them south of Mexico City.

The three survived a barrage of 152 bullets as they were travelling in an armoured US embassy's sport-utility vehicle, prosecutors said.

The federal policemen were wearing civilian clothes and driving private cars when they shot at the SUV, which had US diplomatic licence plates. They later changed into uniform and brought patrol cars when investigators arrived at the scene.

The officers hid the civilian vehicles from which the gunmen opened fire near the town of Tres Marias "simulating circumstances that turned out false", the  prosecutor's office said.

US non-committal

One of the federal officers was charged with making false statements while five others were accused of covering up the attack. The 14 were also charged with property damage.

The two Americans, who were identified as CIA agents by Mexican and American media, left the country shortly after the August 24 shooting.

The US government has refused to say where the two men worked.

They were heading to a military training facility when they were attacked in what the US embassy has described as an ambush.

Mexican police suggested at one point that the officers had mistakenly shot at the US embassy vehicle while investigating a kidnapping case.

But a Mexican official has told the AFP news agency that one line of investigation explored by authorities was whether the officers were working for a criminal gang and ambushed the Americans because they believed they were CIA agents.

A lawyer for two of the police officers said their legal rights were violated.

"The proof is that we asked for a face-to-face between my clients and the US diplomats, but the federal public ministry rejected our request," Enrique Rusty Mondragon Huerta was quoted as saying in El Universal newspaper.

The US works closely with President Felipe Calderon's government against drug smuggling under the $1.6bn Merida Initiative, providing law enforcement training and equipment, including Black Hawk helicopters. 

418

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.