Mexican police 'let drug gang hold kidnap victims in local jail'

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Mexican police 'let drug gang hold kidnap victims in local jail'

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:25 am

Four police officers from Juárez, a suburb of the city of Monterrey, are being held pending further investigation.

Police on the streets of Monterrey, Mexico, where drug gangs were allegedly keeping kidnap victims in police cells. Photograph: Tomas Bravo/REUTERS

Several police officers in northern Mexico allowed a violent drug gang to hold kidnap victims in the local jail while ransom payments were being negotiated, an official has said.

Four police officers from Juárez, a suburb of the city of Monterrey, are being held pending further investigation, said Jorge Domene, the security spokesman for Nuevo León state.

The scandal came to light this week when state and federal police freed two kidnapping victims from jail cells in Juárez. Investigators believe that the victims were abducted by the extremely violent Zetas cartel and that the officers were working for the Zetas, Domene said.

Local police in northern Mexico have often been bribed or threatened into providing drug gangs with information, protecting their activities or detaining members of rival gangs.

Domene noted that last weekend, the Nuevo León attorney general's office detained 73 local policemen from a half dozen communities in the state who confessed to having performed various services for gangs, including spying, acting as lookouts, and carrying out killings and kidnappings.

Authorities then conducted background checks on 99 other officers, 21 of whom were fired after refusing to cooperate. Forty-three have passed the checks so far.

Local police forces in Mexico are often low-paid and poorly armed. A government report in September said many Mexican police officers still earn $350 a month or less, despite reform efforts aimed at increasing wages and reducing corruption.

At another northern Mexico prison, in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, a stash of illicit weapons was found buried in a cell block just two days after authorities discovered a smaller arsenal in a separate block, the attorney general's office of Chihuahua state said.

The most scandalous case of prison corruption came to light in July 2010, when an investigation revealed that guards and officials at a prison in the northern city of Gómez Palacio had freed inmates belonging to a gang, lent them guns and sent them off in official vehicles to carry out drug-related killings, including the massacre of 17 people earlier that year.

The guards allowed the inmates to return to their cells after the killings so that they would be safe from reprisals, authorities said at the time.

"We have barely been in time to put the brakes on organised crime in the first stages, but in some towns, in some areas of the country, they have infiltrated authorities in a practically symbiotic relationship," President Felipe Calderon said during a speech to members of the business community on Thursday.

When I went on holiday to Mexico people warned me that the police there are known for being corrupt. No kidding affraid


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