The chief and four other members of a municipal police force in the central Mexican state of Durango were found drinking at a pool hall hours after the town's alarmed mayor reported them missing.

Lerdo's police chief, Andres Balderas, senior deputy Luis Manuel Torres and three bodyguards traveled to the state capital, Durango city, on Monday for an official function.

The officers subsequently fell out of contact and could not be reached on their cell phones.

The men's families grew worried and Lerdo Mayor Roberto Carmona announced a search for the missing officers.

The mystery was solved in the wee hours of Wednesday, when the five men were found "with alcohol breath" at a pool hall in Durango, state police deputy chief Miguel Angel Navarro said in a statement.

Mexico's well-armed and ruthless criminal organizations often target law enforcement officers. EFE