A Mexican judge ordered 16 police officers to remain detained for 40 days pending an investigation into their alleged involvement with the Zetas drug gang in a region where authorities have found a series of mass graves, prosecutors announced Monday.
The 16 municipal police officer from San Fernando, in the border state of Tamaulipas, are being investigated for organized crime, kidnapping and homicide, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
They were detained last week for allegedly protecting members of the Zetas and covering up the kidnappings of bus passengers and others who traveled a highway connecting San Fernando to the U.S. border.
Authorities have recovered 145 bodies since early this month in San Fernando, where authorities say the Zetas killed 72 Central American migrants in August.
And in the central state of Hidalgo Monday, prosecutors announced they had arrested 27 members of the Zetas gang for their alleged involvement in a car bomb that exploded in January that killed one police officer and wounded three others.
Fernando Hidalgo, a spokesman for the Hidalgo state prosecutor's office, said seven of those arrested were women.
The three women were first picked up police on Sunday following an anonymous tip. They allegedly confessed to belonging to the Zetas and told police where to find the others at safehouses, where they also found guns and marijuana.
On Jan. 22, police received a tip there was a body in the trunk of a car; when they arrived, the vehicle exploded.
Investigators said the Zetas cartel carried out the attack in the town of Tula, Hidalgo, apparently in revenge for the recent killings of two cartel members by police.
Hidalgo is the home state of alleged Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and a central transit point for drugs.
Also Monday, federal prosecutors announced that a judge had ordered Jose Jorge Balderas, known by his initials "J.J.," to stand trial on charges of using falsified documents.
Balderas is a suspect in last year's near-fatal bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for Paraguay's national football team and Mexico's Club America.
But Balderas has not yet been charged with the shooting; instead, prosecutors have charged him with possessing passports that bore his pictures but several other names. It was unclear if prosecutors were planning to bring other, more serious charges against him.
Balderas was arrested in Mexico City in January.
Balderas has denied shooting Cabanas and instead blamed another man already arrested in the case.