Mexico City – Fourteen federal police officers in Mexico were charged with attempted homicide after they shot at a vehicle they thought was carrying a gang of kidnappers -- but instead was carrying CIA agents and a navy captain.
In its Friday statement, the Attorney General's Office doesn't state a motive for the ambush. The targets were heading to a military training camp when they were injured in the attack.
The Mexican officers have spent nearly 80 days in a form of house arrest Mexico uses in organized crime cases.
An official who asked not to be quoted said Mexican police were looking for suspects who abducted an employee of the government archaeological agency a day earlier in the same area where the Aug. 24 shooting occurred.
The kidnappers later released the employee of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, who was found by police walking on a roadside in the area just south of Mexico City. The U.S. agents, identified by Mexican officials as employees of the CIA, suffered non-life-threatening wounds. They have returned to the United States.
The federal Public Safety Department said it has cooperated in the investigation and that 51 officers of the federal police have testified in the case.
"If the use of excessive force, a failure to apply standard protocols or involvement with organized crime is proved, the appropriate punishments will be applied," the department said in a statement. "No illegal act will be tolerated."
The department said that, since the current administration took office in December 2006, a total of 459 federal police officers have been detained for varied offenses, and 50 have been sentenced. It did not detail the criminal charges involved in those cases.
In the same period, about 2,045 officers have failed periodic vetting and anti-drug tests, and 302 of them have been fired. About 600 others are involved in the lengthy internal-affairs procedure, which could lead to people losing their jobs.
The federal police currently has a total force of about 36,000 officers.