Los Angeles Times

Crime wave, police complicity, batter Mexico's Jalisco state and trigger angry protests

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - A surge in gang killings, kidnappings and other crimes is gripping central Mexico's Jalisco state and sparking street protests in a region famed for some of the country's singular cultural emblems - from mariachi music to tequila to Mexican-style rodeo.

And, in a disturbing but familiar scenario in Mexico, corrupt lawmen in the service of criminal gangs appear to be complicit in the escalating violence.

Recent high-profile cases in Jalisco include the disappearance of three film students, the seizure of three Italian citizens and the kidnapping and execution of a pair of Mexican federal agents from an elite squad targeting organized crime.

Police have been implicated in two of the incidents, and prosecutors are investigating reports that police were behind the students' disappearance - the case that sent multitudes of

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