Mexico Military Says 12 Victims Were Not Soldiers

Murders may be related to cartel officer's arrest
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2009 3:56 PM CDT
Police escort Arnoldo Rueda, an alleged coordinator for the Mexican drug cartel known as, "La Familia," during a presentation in Mexico City, Saturday, July 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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(Newser) – Twelve individuals found dead by a road in Michoacan, Mexico were soldiers—or were they? The state prosecutor of Michoacan released a statement shortly after the bodies were found today stating that the dead were soldiers who had been gathering intelligence. But a Mexican Defense Department official tells the AP under condition of anonymity that the 12 weren’t soldiers.

The official said a statement from the government was forthcoming. If the slain were soldiers or police investigating the drug trade, it’s likely that they were killed as part of a wave of retaliation by the cartel La Familia, or “the Family,” following the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, one of its chiefs of operations. Six federal police officers and two soldiers were killed over the weekend in retaliatory attacks by La Familia, police said.