Mexican authorities have charged three generals and a lieutenant-colonel with aiding one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, the Beltran-Leyva cartel (BLO).
Prosecutors formally filed charges Tuesday against General Roberto Dawe Gonzalez, and retired officers Tomas Angeles Dauahare, Ricardo Escorcia Vargas and Silvio Hernandez Soto. They were arrested in May, and they are among the highest-ranking military officials arrested and charged in Mexico in recent years.
Dauahare served as assistant defense minister between 2006 and 2008, while Escorcia led Mexican troops in the state of Morelos – regarded as Beltran-Leyva territory – before he retired in 2010. Gonzales was a military commander in the state of Colima – a drug trafficking route.
Mexican prosecutors also charged US-born Edgar “Barbie” Valdez, with murder and drug trafficking. Valdez confessed his involvement in drug trade in a taped police interview, following a 2010 arrest. Police believe he rose through the cartel ranks while working as a security guard for Arturo Beltran-Leyva.
Four Beltra-Leyva bothers, Marcos Arturo, Hector, Carlos and Alfredo founded the cartel but it began falling apart after Arturo was killed in a fight with Mexican marines in 2009.
Mexico has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in the world, with more than 50,000 people killed in the past six years.