Mexico's federal police on Thursday announced they arrested a drug gang member who detonated a car bomb that killed three people in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Fernando Contreras used a cell phone to set off the bomb that killed a federal police officer and two civilians June 15, federal police regional security chief Luis Cardenas Palomino said. It was the first successful car bombing by Mexico's increasingly brutal drug gangs.
Cardenas Palomino said that after the attack, Contreras was sent to Chihuahua city as the leader there for La Linea drug gang allied with the Juarez drug cartel.
Contreras was arrested Wednesday in Chihuahua along with 14 others, several weapons and drugs, the official said.
Ciudad Juarez has become one of the world's deadliest cities amid a turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels. More than 2,000 people have been killed this year in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Meanwhile, officials continued to burn the 148 tons (134 metric tons) of marijuana seized in the border city of Tijuana. The 15,000 packages — Mexico's biggest pot haul on record — were set ablaze Wednesday.
Authorities announced that one of the 11 men detained during the seizure also confessed to participating in at least eight killings.
Rodolfo Campos Montejo told police he acted as a lookout during the killing of two men who were decapitated and hung by their feet from a bridge last week, according to a statement from the Baja California state attorney general's office. Campos also allegedly said he participated in the assassination of the top state police commander in the town of Rosarito.
The statement said police suspect Campos served as liaison between local Tijuana gangs and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which investigators believe owned the seized marijuana.
In Acapulco, meanwhile, prosecutors said they are investigating whether local police were involved in the kidnapping of 20 men who disappeared while traveling together in the resort city last month.
Guerrero state Attorney General David Augusto Sotelo said prosecutors were investigating the veracity of a video that appeared this week on YouTube, showing a man who identified himself as a policeman and said he and other officers kidnapped the 20 men.
The man, who appeared to be answering questions from an interrogator, claimed he belonged to a cartel led by Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias "The Barbie," a U.S.-born reputed drug lord who was recently captured outside Mexico City.
The 20 men were visiting Acapulco from the city of Morelia, in neighboring Michoacan state, when they disappeared Sept. 30.
One of their companions reported the kidnapping to police, saying the men were traveling in several cars and looking for accommodations when gunmen kidnapped them. The man said he had gone to the store and when he returned, he found his companions were gone and witnesses told him about the kidnapping.
Guerrero state prosecutors have said that interviews with relatives and background checks indicated the 20 men had no criminal records. Relatives, and the man who went the police, say the men were mostly mechanics from Morelia who had saved up for a vacation together.