Mexican police capture suspected teenage assassins

Posted at 06/16/11 7:13 AM

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA BARRANCA, Mexico – Mexican police captured a group of suspected teenage assassins linked to the violent Zetas drug cartel, including two 16-year-old girls, authorities said on Wednesday.

Six of the 10 suspects caught by police after a gunbattle in San Cristobal de la Barranca, just north of Mexico's second largest city, Guadalajara, were aged 16 to 19, the state government of Jalisco said.

Six suspected members of the Zetas were killed in the firefight, after which police seized a large cache of weapons including assault rifles, grenades, a rocket launcher, an armored Hummer and two Chevrolet Cheyennes.

At least 40,000 people have been killed since late 2006 when the Mexican government began a military campaign against drug cartels. The violence has ensnared even schoolchildren in organized crime.

Six of those arrested were female and only two -- men both aged 35 -- were above the age of 21. Since they are minors, the two youngest girls stood with their backs to the cameras when police paraded the suspects after the arrest.