A dozen Mexican police officers have been charged in the massacre of 19 people — including US-bound immigrants — whose bodies were found burned and shot to death in a van near the border last month.
All 12 cops are facing charges of homicide, abuse of authority, and making false statements in connection with the grisly Jan. 22 discovery, Tamaulipas State Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica announced.
In addition, eight Mexican immigration agents were fired for allegedly seizing the van but letting it go before the massacre, Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said.
“These violations of the rights of migrants are absolutely unacceptable,” Cordero said.
The bodies were found in the desolate Tamaulipa region about 40 miles south of Rio Grande City in Texas, authorities said.
Police said all 19 victims were shot and then set on fire.
Mexican authorities have only been able to identify four of the victims — two are from Guatemala and two from Mexico — but have not released their identities.
Sixteen of the victims were men and one was a woman, but the other two are so badly burned that officials have so far been unable to confirm their gender.
Relatives of one victim confirmed that he was an immgrant trafficker.
The van was part of a larger convoy transporting immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador north to the US border, with armed men along for protection from drug cartels that operate throughout the region.
But police have not revealed further details of the mass slayings, nor if the deaths were tied to the cartels.
Guatemalan authorities, who are working with Mexico on the investigation, asked in a statement that “the full weight of law be applied to those responsible for such unfortunate events that have Guatemalan families mourning.”
With Post wires