Authorities in Western Mexico have arrested four of their own police officers in connection with three missing Italian men. State prosecutors said Saturday the four officers are suspected of abducting the missing Italian men on behalf of local gangsters.
The three Italian men were reported missing on January 31 after they were detained by police at a gas station in the municipality of Tecalitlan in southern Jalisco state. The region is also home to Mexico's second biggest city, Guadalajara.
According to the Jalisco attorney general's office, four Tecalitlan police officers, three men, and a woman have all been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the kidnapping. The three missing men are Naples natives, Raffaele Russo, Antonio Russo and Vincenzo Cimmino.
Raul Sanchez, Jalisco's attorney general, said the four police officers told investigators they had been ordered to hand the three men over to a local criminal gang. The missing men have still not been found nearly two months later and the investigation into their abduction is continuing.
Sanchez did not say why the police had been told to abduct the three Italian men. Jalisco is known to be the home of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG, one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels. The gang is notorious for infiltrating the ranks of the police.
Sanchez also could not say whether the criminals his officers handed the men over to belonged to the CJNG.
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