7 Mexico police face trial in US vehicle shooting

AP News
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 9:10 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Seven of the 14 Mexican federal police officers charged in the shooting attack on a U.S. Embassy vehicle in August have been ordered to stand trial on attempted homicide and property-damage charges, Mexican prosecutors and a defense lawyer said Friday.

The ruling means a judge overseeing the case has found sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

The case of the other seven officers, who face the same charges, is being overseen by a different judge, and a ruling on whether they should stand trial is expected soon.

The 14 were detained soon after the Aug. 24 ambush left the U.S. vehicle carrying diplomatic plates riddled with bullets on a rural road south of Mexico City. The two CIA agents in the bullet-proof sport utility vehicle suffered non-life-threatening injuries and a Mexican navy captain with them was unharmed.

A Mexican federal official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, confirmed the trial ruling, as did lawyer Enrique Mondragon, who represents two of the officers.

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Mexican authorities initially had said the attack was probably an accident by well-intentioned police officers who thought they were shooting at criminals. Later, however, U.S. and Mexican officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said they were leaning toward the idea that it was a targeted attack masterminded by a drug cartel.

Since then, Attorney General Marisela Morales had acknowledged that her office was investigating whether organized crime was behind the attack.