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Mexico to investigate corruption allegations against ex-official

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The allegations were made by the brother of a former state attorney general
  • The brother makes the accusations in a video posted on the internet
  • He was abducted last week and is shown in video surrounded by masked armed men
  • The former prosecutor says corrupt officials are taking revenge on her

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexican authorities will investigate allegations that a former state attorney general worked for a drug cartel and was involved in ordering assassinations, the federal attorney general's office said.

The accusations against former Chihuahua state Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez were made by her brother, who was abducted last week and is shown in a video surrounded by hooded armed men. An off-camera questioner interrogates kidnap victim Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez about whether he and his sister were involved with the Juarez cartel.

Mario Gonzalez identified himself as working for La Linea, a street gang affiliated with the Juarez cartel. He said he worked as a liaison between the cartel and the attorney general's office.

Patricia Gonzalez, who left her post this month, told the Milenio newspaper she is "convinced" that corrupt police and others are trying to exact revenge on her for sending some of them to jail.

The video was uploaded on YouTube but later taken down. However, it was reposted by other users.

In the recording, Mario Gonzalez accuses Patricia Gonzalez of ordering assassinations for the cartel and protecting gang members. At the prodding of his interrogator, Mario Gonzalez names several people he said are employed at the attorney general's office but work for the cartel.

The Chihuahua attorney general's office confirmed it was Mario Gonzalez who appeared on the video but offered no opinion on the content.

"I think you have to consider the circumstances under which he was questioned and gave this confession," said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "There were men with heavy arms standing next to him, and it was under those circumstances he confessed these allegations against his sister."

The investigation will be carried out by the federal attorney general's office and prosecutors from Chihuahua state and will include other officials named in the video, authorities said late Monday.

"The local authority will act with objectivity and impartiality to apply all the rigor of the law to punish any crime and against whoever is responsible, without taking into account if it concerns former public functionaries, nor what post or function they had," said a statement from the federal attorney general's office.

The investigation into the abduction also continues, officials said.

The video caused a stir in Mexico, where it became a trending, or most popular, topic on social-networking site Twitter.

Meanwhile, the state government expressed its solidarity for the Gonzalez family, said Graciela Ortiz, the state's secretary general of government

No one should form an opinion on the validity of the statements made on the video, Ortiz said.

The state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas, is the site of an ongoing turf war between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels. The groups are in a violent confrontation over lucrative smuggling routes into the United States, where demand for illegal drugs is strong.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since December 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office and intensified the battle against drug cartels and organized crime.