Attacks kill 7 Mexican police officers

Associated Press / April 29, 2009
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TIJUANA, Mexico - Seven police officers were assassinated in about an hour's time in what authorities said yesterday was a coordinated effort that followed months of relative calm in a border city stricken by drug-fueled violence. Three officers were injured.

Municipal police detained three or four people after Monday night's attacks, said Jose Manuel Yepiz, spokesman for the Baja California state attorney general's office. He did not have additional details.

After four officers were killed by gunfire outside a convenience store, police scanners hummed with "narcocorridos," or drug ballads. One voice threatened over the airwaves that 30 officers would be killed.

One officer was shot dead in each of three attacks that followed, including one at a police station, Yepiz said.

The killings come as Mayor Jorge Ramos intensifies an effort to rid the police department of corrupt officers.

The city has fired 248 police officers accused of corruption since Ramos took office in December 2006 and about 130 others are suspended, said Julian Leyzaola, public safety secretary.

Leyzaola said in an interview last week that about 15 police officers had been killed on the job during Ramos's administration.

Nine police officers were killed last year in neighboring Playas de Rosarito, a city of 130,000 people that has about 14,000 US citizens, Mayor Hugo Torres said. Seven or eight of those killed were involved in drug trafficking, he said.