Seven police officers have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a former contestant on the "La Voz Mexico" television program who died last weekend at the hands of a group of criminals, officials said Tuesday.

The seven cops participated in the Jan. 7 kidnapping of Gibran David Martiz Diaz and one of his friends, Sergio Martinez, 17, Veracruz state Attorney General Amadeo Flores said.

The officers, who allegedly turned the young men over to a gang of criminals, were accused of abuse of authority, failure to fulfill a legal duty and coercion, the AG told Mexican media.

"On the basis of the inquiries made into ... the disappearance of these young men ... the Attorney General's Office found evidence of deeds considered to be crimes that may have been committed by seven members of the public security forces," Flores said.

After conducting interviews of witnesses and the police officers themselves, the latter were arrested and brought before a judge to respond to the accusations against them.

The two young men, according to the complaint presented by relatives, were taken by force from their apartment in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, by armed people dressed in state police uniforms and traveling in three state police vehicles.

Police found the bodies of both victims last weekend in the city of Huatusco after a shootout in which two suspects were killed.

Martin Diaz and Martinez, according to ballistics tests, were murdered by the two criminals before they themselves were gunned down by police, the AG said. EFE