Mexico: 13 police officers arrested in bust of kidnapping gang
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
(File) Soldiers stand guard in Acapulco, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, on February 5, 2013.
- 13 federal police officers are arrested in a kidnapping gang bust
- They are accused of connections with kidnappings and killings in Acapulco
- A spokesman says the arrests show the government won't tolerate corruption
Read this article in Spanish at CNNMexico.com
(CNN) -- More than half of the suspects Mexican authorities arrested in the bust of an alleged kidnapping gang were active-duty federal police officers, a top official said Tuesday.
"It is unfortunate that among those who have the high honor of serving citizens, some commit acts of treason against the citizens who they swore to protect," government security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told reporters.
The 18 suspects arrested, including 13 federal police officers, are connected with at least seven homicides and four kidnappings in Guerrero state, Sanchez said.
If convicted, he said, the federal police officers could face sentences of up to 70 years in prison for each alleged kidnapping offense.
Sanchez said the arrests showed the government's commitment to cracking down on any corruption within its ranks.
Mexico: As dangerous -- and safe -- as ever
But the bust was the latest public relations blow for the port of Acapulco, where Sanchez said the alleged crimes had been committed.
The Pacific resort city and surrounding towns were battered by Tropical Storm Manuel last month and made global headlines with the alleged rape of six Spanish tourists there earlier this year.
Sanchez said a citizen's tip helped authorities uncover the criminal group and arrest the suspects in an operation earlier this month.
He declined to provide details about the victims and said authorities were still investigating to determine whether the suspects were connected to crimes in other parts of Mexico.
Since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December, 81 federal police officers have been accused of committing crimes, Sanchez said.
"So the message is very clear," he said. "We are not going to tolerate any act of corruption from any public servant."
For years Guerrero state, which includes Acapulco, has ranked among the Mexican states with the highest homicide rates, a crime statistic regularly used by officials and analysts when discussing the overall security situation.
Figures released by Mexico's National Statistics and Geography Institute last week painted a grim picture of kidnapping throughout the country.
A survey revealed that there were more than 105,000 kidnappings nationwide last year, the institute said, but only about 1,300 of them were reported to authorities.
Vanishing victims: The 'open wounds' of Mexico's drug war
CNNMexico's Lizbeth Padilla Fajardo contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0913 GMT (1713 HKT)
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
Obama's remarks that he didn't yet have a strategy for ISIS in Syria is widely criticized.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories