(re-ledes with opposition demand for explanation)


The government needs to provide a more detailed explanation of the sudden resignation of the head of the organized-crime division of the Attorney General's Office, the leader of Mexico's main leftist party said Friday.

The AG's office announced Thursday that Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas was stepping down for "reasons of a strictly personal nature."

Salinas spent a year in the post, which plays a key role in the Mexican government's battle with powerful drug cartels.

"It is worrisome that this departure occurs" just two weeks from the end of President Felipe Calderon's six-year term, PRD party chairman Jesus Zambrano said Friday.

Complaining of the lack of "sufficient information" about Salinas' resignation, Zambrano cited "extraofficial" accounts that the now-former deputy attorney general was being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The PRD leader did not offer a source for that claim.

Mexican media have suggested Salinas left because of differences with his boss, Attorney General Marisela Morales, over how to handle a number of high-profile cases.

During his tenure, Salinas fired some subordinates on suspicion they were colluding with organized crime and he has spoken of receiving death threats from drug cartels.

One of Salinas' predecessors at the head of the organized-crime unit, Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was arrested in 2008 and charged with taking $450,000 a month from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to name a new attorney general when he takes office next month. EFE