VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – Four suspected members of a cartel-aligned hit squad have been arrested in the slaying of the family of a Mexican marine hailed as a hero for dying in a raid that killed a top drug lord.
Tabasco state Attorney General Rafael Gonzalez said gunmen from the Zeta gang killed the mother, two siblings and an aunt of marine Melquisedet Angulo. He said four Zeta associates believed to have indirect roles in the attack had been detained, but the killers remained at large.
The slayings of Angulo's relatives early Tuesday just hours after his memorial service was widely viewed as a chilling warning from the Beltran Layva cartel that the families of soldiers and police could now suffer for the government's campaign against drug traffickers.
President Felipe Calderon called the attack on the marine's family "a cowardly act" and vowed to press forward with his war on the cartels involving more than 45,000 Mexican troops.
Angulo was the only marine who died in a Dec. 16 raid that set off a two-hour firefight that killed drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva and six of his bodyguards.
The Zetas, former military elite-turned-hit men, have allied with the Beltran Leyva cartel in recent years.
Is there nothing to military discipline in Mexico that would prevent some former members from becoming so mercenary?