At least 80 former members of the Mexican government are working as spies for U.S. agencies, the La Jornada newspaper reported over the weekend, citing officials.

Senior Attorney General's Office, Public Safety Secretariat and Government Secretariat officials told the newspaper that former government officials ranging from police officers to high-level officials have been detected working for the United States.

The former officials have been working as agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, La Jornada said.

The agents provided the U.S. agencies with information and monitored matters of interest to Washington.

Active officials may also be working for the U.S. government and aiding their former colleagues, the senior officials told La Jornada.

The role played by Mexican officials in helping the United States is one of the focuses of the investigation into reports that the DEA laundered the funds of Mexican drug cartels as part of an operation.

The DEA, ATF and ICE have hired informants at the Siedo organized crime unit of the federal AG's office, a department that handles many of the most sensitive investigations in the war on drugs.

Although no more than 200 U.S. law enforcement agents operate in Mexico, it is not known how many informants they have on their payrolls.

Some individuals arrested as criminals, especially along the northern border, turned out to be working for U.S. agencies, the senior officials told La Jornada. 

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