Jim Kouri
December 28, 2011
Mexico's feds dismantle local police force
By Jim Kouri

"The problem with corruption within Mexican coupled with the political corruption within Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department — including harebrained schemes like the Fast & Furious debacle — makes it less likely that the 'war on drugs' will end successfully," said former narcotics detective Glenn Knudsen.

A major police department in Mexico has been completely dismantled by federal police and military forces as part of an anti-corruption plan to help in winning Mexico's de facto war on drugs.

More than 900 officers in the State of Veracruz are losing their jobs, while members of the Mexican Navy are taking over the city's law enforcement function, according to a report from a DEA source.

Police lay-offs come three months after 35 bodies were found dumped on a main road in the municipality, which includes part of Veracruz.

Navy troops backed by federal police officers took control of local police buildings and are patrolling the streets.

Veracruz State Governor Javier Duarte said the decision to disband the force was part of a national program to reform the police, according to the DEA source.

"The problem with corruption within Mexican coupled with the political corruption within Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department — including harebrained schemes like the Fast & Furious debacle — make it less likely that the 'war on drugs' will end successfully," said former narcotics detective Glenn Knudsen.

It has not yet been determined how long the navy will be in charge of policing the municipality, which is home to more than a half-million people and includes wealthy neighborhoods and popular tourist attractions.

Hundreds of Mexican Marines had already been deployed in Veracruz-Boca del Rio after the 35 bodies were dumped on busy road in the middle of the day in September. Two weeks later the navy patrolmen found another 32 bodies.

The killings are believed to be part of the gang-war for control of drug-trafficking routes between two of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels — the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.

This latest action in Veracruz isn't the first time local cops were replaced with military personnel or federal police (Federales). The armed forces and federal police have taken over law enforcement and security in a significant number of municipalities across Mexico because local police have been unable — or unwilling — to cope with the power of the drugs gangs.

"Life expectancy for a local cop who attempts to enforce the law is relatively short. So many of them either ignore the crime and corruption or they collaborate. Mexican cops are paid law wages so the temptation to supplement their incomes is overwhelming at times," said the DEA source.

Besides using military troops to confront the deadly Mexican gangs, President Felipe Calderon in a press statement promised to reform the police and judiciary as part of his strategy to restore public security.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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