(Reuters) – Two Mexican generals, including the former deputy minister of defense who helped lead the escalation of the country’s war against drug gangs, are being investigated for ties to organized crime, an official at the attorney general’s office said on Wednesday.
Mexican soldiers on Tuesday detained Tomas Angeles Dauahare, who served as the army’s second in command until 2008, and Roberto Dawe Gonzalez, who led an elite unit in the state of Colima, and turned them over for questioning to the country’s organized crime unit, officials said.
“The generals are making a statement because they are allegedly tied to organized crime activities,” the official at the attorney general’s office said, on condition of anonymity.
President Felipe Calderon named Dauahare as deputy defense minister upon taking office in December 2006, and the general retired in March 2008, according to a military spokesman, who said no arrest warrant had been issued for the two generals and said they were only being questioned at this point.
Calderon has staked his reputation on bringing Mexico’s drug gangs to heel, sending in the army out to fight them at the beginning of his term.
Violence has spiraled since then and around 55,000 people have fallen victim to the conflict, eroding support for Calderon’s conservative National Action Party (PAN), which looks likely to lose power in presidential elections on July 1.