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Mexican Police 'Targeted' US Embassy Car
Mexican federal police who fired on a US embassy vehicle, wounding two CIA officers, were likely working for a drug gang, officials have said.
The armoured SUV with American diplomatic plates was shot at on a rural road near Cuernavaca south of Mexico City on August 24.
Federal police officers have said they mistakenly opened fire on the vehicle believing it was being driven by the kidnappers of a government employee.
When asked if the officers involved in the shooting were tied to organised crime, a senior US official told AP: "The circumstantial evidence is pretty damn strong.
"This is not a 'Whoops, we got the wrong people'."
The CIA officers were driving to a military installation, accompanied by a Mexican navy captain, when a carload of gunmen opened fire and gave chase.
As they tried to escape, three other cars joined the original vehicle, according to a navy statement, and occupants of all four fired.
"This is somebody with a powerful automatic weapon just unloading an entire clip, reloading, and continuing to fire at that same impact point, clearly with the intention of penetrating the armour and presumably killing those who are inside," the US official said.
A Mexican official said prosecutors were investigating whether the Beltran Leyva cartel was behind the attack.
He added that surveillance cameras in the area, which is known to be controlled by remnants of the once-powerful gang, recorded two civilian vehicles chasing the embassy vehicle as well as the police.
The US official said: "I don't think we're yet in a position to say definitively who did it, who paid them and why they did it.
"We have been assured repeatedly in private and in public that the government of Mexico will investigate this to the end and provide a final answer as to what occurred, and I think our posture at this stage is we take them at their word."
The US State Department declined to comment on an ongoing investigation but said the two nations were co-operating.
Twelve federal police officers have been detained in connection with the case and are being held under a form of house arrest pending possible charges. The FBI, which is leading the investigation for the US, has been present at interviews with the detainees.
Mexico's federal police agency, which President Felipe Calderon calls the most professional and highly trained of the country's law enforcement agencies, has been hit with a number of allegations of wrongdoing in recent months.
In August, all 348 officers working at Mexico City's international airport were replaced following the shooting dead of three federal policemen by a fellow officer believed to be involved in trafficking drugs through the terminal.
Ten officers were arrested in Ciudad Juarez in 2011, accused of running an extortion ring.