Monterrey, Nuevo Leon – Mexican marines raided a clinic outside this northern city used by drug cartels to care for gunmen wounded in clashes with authorities or rivals, military officers told Efe Friday.
Eight people were arrested in the operation, including two men wounded Thursday night in a clash with soldiers and the doctor who was treating them.
Some 100 marines were involved in the raid on the Maternal and Child Medical Center in the Monterrey suburb of Escobedo, which began around 9:30 a.m. Friday, an officer who took part said.
After establishing a security perimeter and evacuating three nearby schools, the marines entered the clinic and arrested everyone inside, putting them aboard helicopters for the trip to the regional military headquarters, the officer said.
The same marine contingent carried out the arrest Thursday of the Monterrey municipal official responsible for issuing liquor licenses and overseeing alcohol sales, Rogelio Gonzalez Heredia.
Intelligence reports linked Gonzalez to 500 cases of adulterated whiskey, tequila and vodka confiscated in the city last week.
Also arrested this week were two Nuevo Leon state police officers accused of destroying the GPS tracking devices in their patrol cars, and two cops from the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolas, who are charged with kidnapping and murdering a local merchant.
Amid widespread corruption in Mexico’s law enforcement agencies, the armed forces have taken the lead in the struggle against organized crime, though the militarization of the drug war has done nothing to diminish the violence that has claimed more than 17,000 lives since December 2006.
Monterrey, which is home to some of Mexico’s leading industrial conglomerates, is likewise a hub for the country’s powerful drug cartels, according to investigators in the federal Attorney General’s Office.
The city serves the cartels as a venue for money laundering and for warehousing drugs bound for the United States, the AG office says.