Mexican army troops arrested a score of municipal police in the northern town of Salinas Victoria on suspicion of links to drug cartels, the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said Wednesday.
More than half the municipal department’s 35 officers were taken into custody at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, an AEI spokesperson said.
Members of the state police accompanied the troops to Salinas Victoria, a town north of Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon and Mexico’s third-largest city.
The municipal cops are suspected of being on the payroll of the Los Zetas organization, which is battling the Gulf cartel for control of drug trafficking in the region of the Mexican-U.S. border.
State police will take over law-enforcement duties in Salinas Victoria pending completion of the investigation, the Nuevo Leon Public Safety Office said.
The Gulf cartel is thought to have been behind recent bomb attacks on police departments in the Nuevo Leon municipalities of General Teran and Zuazua, accused by the Gulf mob of collaborating with Los Zetas.
Around 350 people have died this year in Nuevo Leon in drug-related violence, while the 2010 nationwide death toll from gangland mayhem war has already topped 10,000.
The drug war has cost upwards of 30,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when new President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the cartels.