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Nine Suspects Arrested In ICE Agent's Murder, But Questions Of Torture Remain

The Mexican Army arrested nine suspects in the murder of an American federal agent working in that country. Officials are calling the shooting a case of mistaken identity. The Obama Administration has lauded the Mexican government for its fast work.  But some are suspicious of the arrests.

Six of the nine suspects were paraded in front of the media early Thursday. One had both eyes swollen shut, his mouth bleeding and bruised. Another's face was splotched in purple and black.

The Army said the six men and three women were working for the Zeta cartel. They say the gunmen mistook the agent's dark SUV for that of a rival drug gang and that's why they opened fire.

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul says that's not true. He says the Zetas knew exactly who they were killing.

"We have an agent who survived this, thank God," McCaul said. "And his firsthand eyewitness account is that they yelled out to them that were Americans and they were American diplomats."

Roderic Camp, an expert on Mexico's military, says those arrested looked like they had been beaten, something past Mexican administrations would have tolerated.

"If you use physical abuse or some kind of torture to generate a confession, you risk creating a guilty party who may be guilty of plenty of things but not that particular crime," Camp said.

The U.S. Justice Department applauded the Mexican government's efforts through a written statement but refused our request for an interview. Congressman McCaul says he's disappointed by the U.S?s approval of the Mexicans' fast arrest.

"It seems to me that it's kind of an attempt to downgrade this episode and maybe kind of sweep it under the rug," McCaul said.

He and other Republican lawmakers are calling for the suspects to be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.