State prosecutors formally initiated criminal proceedings against four police officers in western Mexico who were arrested a week ago on suspicion of abducting three Italian men for local gangsters, a judge on the case said on Saturday, Press TV reported.
Judge Damian Campos said proceedings against Tecalitlan police officers, Salomon Adrian "N," Emilio "N," and Fernando "N" were initiated.
Charges against a fourth police officer, Lidia Guadalupe "N," were reclassified because she was not present when the Italians were handed over to local gangsters but participated as an operator.
The three Italians reportedly went missing on January 31 after being detained by police at a gasoline station in the municipality of Tecalitlan in southern Jalisco State.
Campos said they had proof the four officers carried out the forced disappearance of the Naples natives Raffaele Russo, Antonio Russo, and Vincenzo Cimmino.
The arrested police officers had told investigators they had been ordered to hand over the three men to a local criminal gang.
Authorities are still trying to locate the Italians, and investigations are continuing, authorities have said.
It was not clear why the police had been told to abduct the men.
Jalisco is home to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of Mexico's most powerful drug gangs and one notorious for infiltrating the police.