Image: Ninety two police agents of Hidalgo, Mexican state detained
Luz Acevedo  /  EPA
Buses transported several dozen detained police agents June 25 in Mexico City. The detained agents have alleged links with "Los Zetas" band, private army of Golfo drug cartel.
updated 6/28/2009 10:32:05 PM ET 2009-06-29T02:32:05

Mexican prosecutors announced Sunday they have put 93 police officers and investigators under house arrest on suspicion of aiding the Zetas, a feared gang of hit men tied to the Gulf drug cartel.

Corruption scandals have long plagued Mexican law enforcement, but the detentions represented one of the biggest single roundups of suspected officers in recent years. It came as investigators have been increasingly reporting finds of apparent payroll lists of police officers in the possession of drug traffickers.

The Attorney General's Office said those detained included police officers and officials from state, federal and local forces assigned to the central state of Hidalgo, as well as one civilian government employee there.

The men allegedly protected and cooperated with the Zetas, a gang founded by deserters from an elite army unit.

The office said in a statement that investigations suggested the detainees were on the Zetas' payroll, with payments of as much as 3 million pesos ($225,000) a month. It was unclear if that was paid to each detainee, or all as a lump sum.

The suspects have not yet been charged, and can be held for up to 40 days pending investigation.

Elsewhere Sunday, police in the border city of Tijuana reported they found the bodies of two men shot to death lying in streets. The city, just south of San Diego, has been one of the major scenes of drug-related violence that has claimed more than 10,800 lives across Mexico since late 2006.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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