Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Mexico grills Cancun police chief


The federal government detained Cancun’s police chief on Monday and brought him to the capital to ask him about the torture and killing of a retired army brigadier general near the resort city, Cancun’s mayor said.

It was unclear if police chief Francisco Velasco was considered a suspect in the triple murder of decorated army Brigadier General Mauro Enrique Tello, an active-duty lieutenant and a civilian who were found dead on Feb. 3 outside Cancun. Mayor Gregorio Sanchez did not give further details on Velasco’s detention.

A spokesman for the federal Attorney General’s office in Mexico City said Velasco was being detained for questioning, and prosecutors would decide within the next few days whether he would be considered a suspect. The official was not authorized to give his name.

The action came hours after soldiers stripped Velasco and his force of their weapons for about three hours to check the registration of the guns.

With Velasco’s detention, state police were temporarily put in charge of officers patrolling Mexico’s top tourist destination.

No one has been arrested in connection with the killings, but investigators believe they are part of escalating drug-related violence.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Excelsior newspaper in an interview published on Monday that more than 6,000 people were killed in organized-crime-related homicides last year.

It was the first government confirmation of the total number of killings last year amid a huge government crackdown on cartels.

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