Two Mexican generals are under investigation for links to a drug cartel, the attorney general’s office said on Wednesday.
Soldiers took retired General Tomas Angeles Dauahare and General Roberto Dawe Gonzalez into custody and the two are now being questioned by Mexico's organized crime unit. They could be held for several days before being called in front of a judge to give testimony.
The generals are answering questions because they are allegedly tied to organized crime, an official at the attorney general's office told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The two generals have not been formally charged with any wrongdoing, but are giving their declarations in connection with the investigation carried out by the organized crime unit, prosecutors told BBC. Authorities did not name the cartel in question.
Angeles Dauahare served as Mexico's assistant defense secretary from 2006 to 2008, when he was tasked by President Felipe Calderon to lead the country's war on drugs.
Dawe Gonzalez, who is still an active general, is being detained at a military base in the western state of Colima, where he had previously led an elite army unit, according to the BorderlandBeat blog. Drug trafficking in Colima is currently run by the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and its allies, and Dawe Gonzalez has also led anti-cartel troops in the hyper-violent Sinaloa and Chihuahua states.
Corruption among police officers is not unprecedented. They are often put in harm's way, yet police in some of the most violent parts of the country receive extremely low salaries, and so some turn to cartels for safety and cash.
Last July, a report revealed that more than 400 police officers and investigators nationwide had been fired over corruption allegations. Some gangs, like the Juarez cartel's enforcement arm La Linea, count both current and retired cops as members, such as Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, a former policeman who last year admitted to ordering the murders of 1,500 people.
However, corruption among the better-paid military is less common; if they are found to be connected to a cartel, Dawe Gonzalez and Angeles Dauahare could incite a national scandal.
Other high-ranking military figures that have been connected to traffickers include retired General Juan Manuel Barragan Espinosa, who was arrested in February, and General Manuel Moreno Avina and 29 of his soldiers. Avina's men are currently being tried on charges of torture, homicide, drug trafficking committed in the border town of Ojinaga, according to the Associated Press.
Calderon's five year-long war on drugs has resulted in roughly 55,000 deaths as cartels battle with government forces and vie for territory with other criminal organizations.