Mexico arrests police officer over casino attack

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 02, 2011 1:03 AM
Mexico arrests police officer over casino attack

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican authorities have arrested a police officer in connection with an attack last week on a casino in the city of Monterrey that killed 52 people, the attorney general's office said on Thursday.

The Nuevo Leon state police officer is suspected of having taken part in last Thursday's arson attack on the upmarket Casino Royale, Jose Salinas, an official at the attorney general's office, told a televised news conference.

The attack was one of the worst killings of civilians in recent years in Mexico, where drug-related violence has claimed over 42,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon went to war on the drug cartels after taking office at the end of 2006.

Five other suspects in the attack, whose arrests were made public on Monday, are believed to be members of the Zetas drug cartel, which has ravaged the prosperous northern city of Monterrey over the past two years.

Law enforcement agencies have been infiltrated by the cartels, who can often offer them more money than the state.

Nuevo Leon has fired much of its police force and increased pay to try and root out the corruption.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Paul Simao)