HomeNewsBriefMexico Govt: Police Mistook CIA Agents for Kidnappers

Mexico Govt: Police Mistook CIA Agents for Kidnappers


The Mexican government says the shooting of several CIA agents by Federal Police last month may have been an accident rather than a deliberate attack, but the incident still raises questions about the agency’s competence.

Mexican Interior Minister Alexandro Poire confirmed on September 4 that Federal Police attacked a diplomatic vehicle with CIA personnel and a Mexican marine captain inside because they may have mistook the occupants for suspects in a kidnapping case. The case, Poire said, was occurring in the exact area where the shooting took place. He added that the Attorney General’s Office is still investigating.

Poire refused to confirm that the agents, who were injured in the incident, were CIA personnel, although he did defend the presence of US government officials in Mexico.

In an interview with El Milenio, the alleged victim of the kidnapping in question, Salvador Vidal Flores Perez, defended the police officers against accusations that they intentionally targeted the Americans and credited the Federal Police with saving his life.

Proceso reported that an investigation by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office discovered there were three CIA personnel inside the vehicle, rather than two, as was initially reported. Other sources continue to indicate that there were only two CIA personnel, and that both have already returned to the United States, despite the ongoing investigation by Mexican authorities.

InSight Crime Analysis

The news that the shooting was an accident rather than a deliberate attack by corrupt officials is certainly welcome, but the details that have emerged paint a picture of incompetence of the Federal Police involved. The Mexican marine captain who was in the vehicle during the attack reported that the officers, who opened fire on the car without verifying the identities of the occupants, were not wearing their uniforms and were traveling in unmarked, unofficial vehicles.

As InSight Crime reported, this incident, along with a string of similarly embarrassing scandals such as the July shootout between different groups of police at the Mexico City airport, raises questions about the reliability of what is supposed to be Mexico’s premier law enforcement agency.

The CIA significantly increased its presence in Mexico last year, sending agents to work side by side with Mexican law enforcement and intelligence officials on Mexican military bases.

Click here to send InSight Crime your comments. We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Click here for more details of how to share our work and please send us an email if you use an article.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.


Related Content


Ciudad Juarez has dramatically reduced homicides in recent years, but the lack of clarity on how and why this has…


Recent declarations from jailed Mexican capo “La Barbie” have weakened the case against a general accused of corruption,…


Authorities in Mexico have accused the former mayor of Iguala of ordering the attack against 43 students who went missing…

About InSight Crime


We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.


InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area


Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…


InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…


InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …


InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas


In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…