Mexico suspends 6 over photos of slain drug lord

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2009 11:45 PM

Six forensics workers in Mexico have been suspended for altering a crime scene in which slain drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva was photographed with bloodstained money laid out across his bullet-ridden body, an official said Tuesday.

A spokesman for prosecutors in the central state of Morelos said the workers claimed a federal official they did not name ordered them to change the scene. The spokesman is not authorized to be quoted by name because of department policy.

Beltran Leyva was killed along with six associates Dec. 16 in a shootout with marines.

The apartment was secured by a marine detail while forensics workers examined and eventually removed the bodies.

Mexico's Interior Department has said no federal official was involved in the alteration.

The spokesman said the six suspended workers include a doctor, a photographer and a crime scene expert. They face disciplinary action for failing to follow proper procedures, but no criminal charges have been brought against them.

Beltran Leyva was considered one of Mexico's most wanted and most violent drug lords, and the apparently staged photos were later published by Mexican and international media.

Also Tuesday, authorities in the border city of Tijuana arrested a former police officer suspected in an attack against the police chief and several officers.

Baja California state attorney general Daniel de la Rosa said Luis "El Gil" Sanchez, 29, was arrested Tuesday in the tourist resort city of Ensenada, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Tijuana.

Sanchez is the alleged leader of at least 10 criminal cells working for Teodoro Garcia Simental, a renegade lieutenant who broke away from the Arellano Felix cartel, de la Rosa said.

Sanchez was behind a foiled attack against Tijuana's Public Safety Secretary Julian Leyzaola and the killings of several police officers, he said.