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Police held over drug gang 'links'

A Mexican judge has ordered 16 police officers to remain detained for 40 days pending an investigation into their alleged involvement with the Zetas drug gang in a region where authorities have found a series of mass graves, prosecutors announced.

The 16 municipal police officer from San Fernando, in the border state of Tamaulipas, are being investigated for organised crime, kidnapping and murder, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

They were detained last week for allegedly protecting members of the Zetas and covering up the kidnappings of bus passengers and others who travelled a highway connecting San Fernando to the US border.

Authorities have recovered 145 bodies since early this month in San Fernando, where authorities say the Zetas killed 72 Central American migrants in August.

And in the central state of Hidalgo, prosecutors announced they had arrested 27 members of the Zetas gang for their alleged involvement in a car bomb that exploded in January that killed one police officer and wounded three others.

Fernando Hidalgo, a spokesman for the Hidalgo state prosecutor's office, said seven of those arrested were women.

The three women were first picked up by police on Sunday following an anonymous tip. They allegedly confessed to belonging to the Zetas and told police where to find the others at safe houses, where they also found guns and marijuana.

On January 22, police received a tip there was a body in the trunk of a car; when they arrived, the vehicle exploded.

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