Mexican navy detains 35 cops linked to drug cartel
Tuesday, 25 September 2012, 10:34
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - The Mexican navy has detained 35 police officers from the eastern state of Veracruz over their suspected ties to the powerful Zetas drug cartel, the navy said Monday.
Most of the officers, including four women, were still wearing their blue state police uniforms when they were paraded in front of news cameras at the attorney general's office specialized in organized crime in Mexico City.
The 35 officers were arrested in operations in the Veracruz capital of Xalapa and in San Luis Potosi, capital of the central state with the same name, the navy said in a statement.
"They were all police officers in the Veracruz public security department and allegedly collaborated with the Zetas criminal organization," the statement said.
Mexico's state and local police forces are often accused of corruption and working hand-in-hand with drug cartels.
The Gulf of Mexico coast state of Veracruz has become a central hub of activity of the Zetas, a gang formed in the 1990s by military special forces deserters.
The federal government deployed 4,000 troops and federal police to the eastern state last year in a bid to curb violence between the Zetas and rival groups.
The navy has taken over the anti-drug task from several municipal police forces, including in the key port of Veracruz.
In October 2011, authorities discovered that 18 Veracruz local police officers were on the payroll of the Zetas when they broke up a network in the state.
The officers were being paid between $150 and $700 a month, depending on their rank, to leak information to the Zetas or even take part in armed operations, authorities said at the time.