Authorities in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, have announced the arrest of 26 local police officers, as they investigate the murder of two bodyguards serving the state’s governor.
Five men allegedly behind the murders were also killed in a confrontation with the army, while a surviving gunman admitted to his involvement in the crime, according to El Universal.
The police officers worked in Zuazua, Nuevo Leon, where the two bodyguards were abducted on Tuesday night, and authorities believe the police protected the group responsible for the murders. The bodies of the two men were discovered on Wednesday with a message accusing them of working for the Zetas and threatening Governor Rodrigo Medina. The note has led to speculation that the group’s rivals, the Gulf Cartel, was behind the killing.
The Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have been locked into a fierce battle for territory and smuggling routes since early 2010. The fighting has turned Mexico’s northeast, which was controlled by the two groups together while they remained allies, into one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico. In a particularly violent outbreak, 33 people were killed around Nuevo Leon on Wednesday.
Threats against government officials in the region have grown more frequent as a result of the fighting. A number of mayors in the northeastern states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon have been killed in the past 18 months. Last June, Rodolfo Torre, the front-runner for the governor’s post in Tamaulipas, was killed just days before the election.