Mexican police seize 18 kidnap suspects in Acapulco – most are fellow officers

Anonymous tip leads to seizure of gang of federal officers thought to be involved with seven murders and four kidnappings

Mexican authorities have detained a gang of 18 suspected kidnappers in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, the majority of whom were members of the federal police.

The Mexican government’s national security spokesman, Eduardo Sánchez, said 13 of the men, aged between 22 and 32, were members of the federal police force. The gang is thought to be involved in seven murders and four kidnappings.

The suspects were seized on the outskirts of Acapulco by fellow officers after an anonymous tip, Sánchez said in a press conference.

Acapulco, a tourist resort in the western state of Guerrero, has been hit by a wave of violence in recent years and is one of Mexico’s most violent cities, with 77 homicides per 100,000 people.

The federal police force has suffered several severe blows to its reputation in recent years. In June last year, three officers died during a shootout between federal police and corrupt officers at Mexico City’s airport. Months later, 14 officers were charged with attempted murder for opening fire on a car carrying two CIA agents outside Mexico City.

About 80,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico since 2007, when former president Felipe Calderón sent in the army to tame the warring cartels.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December, has vowed to break with the policies of his predecessor and end the bloodletting by targeting kidnapping and extortion. But crime has remained high since he took office and critics have called into question how different Peña Nieto’s policies are from Calderón’s.

Guerrero is one of the most dangerous states in the country, and with 86 reported kidnappings it had more cases in the first eight months of this year than in the whole of both 2012 and 2011, according to federal data.

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