CHILPANCINGO, Mexico (AP) _ Authorities arrested a police commander in the killing last weekend of seven men in a rural community after some of the men tried to steal a pickup truck.

The official Notimex news agency said Adan Saldana Modesto, a police commander in the area known as Acatepec, was arrested Tuesday after detainees told authorities he was the ringleader of the mob that lynched the men, hanging five of the peasants and shooting two.

Five other municipal officials were also arrested.

Authorities told Notimex the killings occurred Sunday in the rugged mountains of Guerrero state, 175 miles southwest of Mexico City.

Officials say a mob carrying machetes and clubs seized three men who had tried to steal the truck, beat them, killed them and then hunted down four relatives.

The newspaper El Nacional said about 500 people from the town of Zapotitlan took part in the attack, and that the slain men were feared members of a local gang that had terrorized the community for years.

Most of the bodies were found hanging on trees and showed signs of torture, El Nacional said.