Mexico has fired 10% of federal police in 2010

Mexico`s federal police agency has fired nearly 10 per cent of its force this year for failing checks designed to detect possible corruption, a major obstacle in the country`s battle against increasingly brutal drug gangs.

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010, 13:38 PM IST

Mexico City: Mexico`s federal police
agency has fired nearly 10 per cent of its force this year for
failing checks designed to detect possible corruption, a major
obstacle in the country`s battle against increasingly brutal
drug gangs.

Mexico`s approximately 35,000 federal police are
required to undergo periodic lie detector, psychological and
drug examinations, and the government routinely investigates
their finances and personal life.
Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said 3,200
officers have been dismissed this year for failing to meet the
agency`s standards. He did not give more details.

The fired agents are barred from taking jobs in any
other security force - a recurring problem that Mexican
governments have vowed to solve for many years. Another 1,020
federal police are facing unspecified disciplinary measures.

Police corruption at all levels is widespread in
Mexico. Police are often found to have been involved in cartel
attacks, including the assassination two weeks ago of a mayor
who had disciplined municipal officers in his northern town.
Investigators say local officers aligned with the Zetas drug
gang killed the mayor in retaliation.

Scandals have also ensnared the federal police. Two
years ago, a corruption probe known as "Operation Clean House"
toppled the former anti-drug czar, Noe Ramirez, and other
high-ranking police accused of protecting the Beltran Leyva
gang.
President Felipe Calderon, who has deployed tens of
thousands of soldiers and federal police to fight drug
traffickers in their strongholds, has pointed to the regular
police tests and crackdowns such as "Clean House" as evidence
that his government is aggressively fighting corruption.

Drug violence has surged since Calderon intensified
the crackdown on traffickers upon taking office in late 2006,
claiming more than 28,000 lives.

In the latest violence, a 12-hour battle between
troops and gunmen left killed seven people in the eastern town
of Panuco.

The gunmen opened fire and launched grenades at a
government electricity station as they tried to escape the
soldiers, causing a power outage in a large part of town, said
Salvador Mikel Rivera, attorney general in the Gulf coast
state of Veracruz, where Panuco is located.

The battle started Sunday night when gunmen in six
cars ignored orders to stop from soldiers at a checkpoint,
Rivera said. Soldiers, along with state and local police,
started a chase that ended at two houses where the gunmen
tried to hide, he said. The shootout at the houses lasted
until yesterday morning.

One soldier and six gunmen were killed.

PTI