MEXICO CITY - Police said they busted a gang called the "eyedroppers" that used flirtatious young women to rob men after drugging their drinks, resulting in the deaths of almost two dozen victims.
Evidence released Friday by Mexico City prosecutors revealed a chilling robbery and murder scheme that was long rumored to exist in the capital's underworld but in fact operated in 10 states over several years.
Known as the goteras, or "eyedroppers," for allegedly tranquilizing victims with potentially deadly eyedrops and other drugs, the gang is suspected in 23 deaths and 28 other robbery cases since 2004, according to the Mexico City Attorney General's Office.
Substances found in some eyedrops - especially those used by doctors to relax eye muscles during examinations - can be toxic if swallowed, and can lead to coma or death.
Authorities said five men and five women had been arrested in a series of raids starting in April. The investigation continues, and the gang may have dozens of members.
"One, two, or as many as four women in a restaurant, bar or nightclub would start flirting from their table, with the intention of being invited over by their future victims," according to the case file. "They adopted an attitude of being willing to have sex."
The women allegedly would then lure men to seedy hotels or private homes, and serve them drinks laced with knockout drugs.
Prosecutors began investigating several years ago after men started turning up dead in homes and hotels.