Mexican marines and prosecutors arrested seven municipal police officers in the northern state of Nuevo Leon on charges of colluding with organized crime, the navy department said Wednesday.
The arrests are part of a strategy “to clean up police departments and dismantle the activities of the organized criminal groups,” the department said in a statement.
Nuevo Leon prosecutors were present Tuesday when marines arrested one member of the municipal force in Santa Catarina and six officers in San Nicolas de los Garza.
Both municipalities are suburbs of Monterrey, the state capital.
The perception that state and local police departments are penetrated by Mexico’s powerful drug cartels lay behind President Felipe Calderon’s decision, within days of taking office in December 2006, to give the military the leading role in fighting organized crime.
Since then, the military has effectively taken over various local police departments, while Calderon has been urging Congress to approve a plan to consolidate Mexico’s roughly 1,600 police forces into a mere 32, one each for the 31 states and Federal District.
Photos: Grupo Reforma