Mexico lodges drug charges against four in military

Mexican prosecutors formally lodged drug charges Tuesday against four high-ranking army officers, including three generals and a lieutenant colonel. They are the highest-ranking Mexican army officials arrested in at least 15 years, and allegedly provided protection for the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel. They were detained in May and have been held under a form of house arrest.

MEXICO CITY — Mexican prosecutors formally lodged drug charges Tuesday against four high-ranking army officers, including three generals and a lieutenant colonel.

They are the highest-ranking Mexican army officials arrested in at least 15 years, and allegedly provided protection for the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel. They were detained in May and have been held under a form of house arrest.

The Attorney General’s Office said charges of “organized crime to further drug trafficking” were lodged against retired generals Tomas Angeles Dauahare and Ricardo Escorcia, as well as active service Gen. Roberto Dawe Gonzalez. Retired Lt. Col. Silvio Hernandez Soto faces the same charge.

The office did not mention specifics of the case lodged against the four along with an army major. But charged in the same case is U.S.-born drug trafficker Edgar Valdes Villarreal, alias “La Barbie,” who worked for the Beltran Leyva cartel until it began to break up with the death of leader Arturo Beltran Leyva in a 2009 shootout with marines.

The investigation against them the officers is based on a case from 2009, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The previous highest-ranking army official arrested was Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, then head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency, who was was arrested in 1997 and later convicted of aiding deceased drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

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