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Police chief questioned over 3 slayings outside Cancun

February 10, 2009|Associated Press

CANCUN, MEXICO — The federal government detained Cancun's police chief Monday to ask him about the torture and killing of a retired army general near the resort city, Mayor Gregorio Sanchez said.

It was unclear whether Police Chief Francisco Velasco, who was taken to the capital, was considered a suspect in the slayings of decorated Brig. Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello, an active-duty lieutenant and a civilian. The three were found dead Feb. 3 in a bullet-riddled SUV. Sanchez did not give further details.

A spokesman for the federal attorney general's office in Mexico City said Velasco was being detained for questioning and that prosecutors would decide within the next few days whether he would be considered a suspect. The official said he was not authorized to give his name.

The action came hours after soldiers stripped Velasco and his force of their weapons for about three hours to check the registration of the guns. State police were temporarily put in charge of officers patrolling Cancun, Mexico's top tourist destination.

Cancun's city government had recently hired Tello as a security consultant to combat local corruption.

He was asked to set up an elite police force to fight drug trafficking.

Since Tello's death, the army has set up checkpoints in and around the city.

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