Mexico generals face charges over alleged drug cartel links

A Mexican army convoy patrols a stretch of highway in Los Cabos on the eve of the G20 summit on June 17, 2012.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Mexico has charged four top army brass, including three generals and a lieutenant colonel, over their alleged links with drug cartels.

They are the highest-ranking Mexican army officers arrested in at least 15 years, the Associated Press reported.

Retired generals Tomas Angeles Dauahare and Ricardo Escorcia, active service General Roberto Dawe Gonzalez and retired Lieutenant Colonel Silvio Hernandez Soto have been accused of providing protection for the once-powerful Beltran-Leyva drug cartel.

The Attorney General’s Office said the four men faced charges of “organized crime to further drug-trafficking,” the BBC reported, citing a statement.

The army officials have been under house arrest since they were detained two months ago.

Prosecutors have also charged US-born Edgar Valdez, otherwise known as “La Barbie,” in the same case.

Barbie, who worked for the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel, has been accused of trafficking and murder. He was arrested near Mexico City in August 2010.

Reuters noted that the arrests of the high-ranking officials were a scandal for the Mexican army, which has spearheaded sitting President Felipe Calderon’s war against the powerful drug cartels.

More than 55,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers to fight drug traffickers in late 2006. Calderon leaves office at the end of November. 

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