When the police department from the municipality of Ahome in the Mexican state of Sinaloa were summoned to meet with the director of state police, they thought they were going to discuss routine operations. Instead, they were disarmed and the 32 officers and commanders who make up the entire department were arrested for their connection with Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva cartels.
According to a story at BorderlandBeat.com, the recent arrests came about because of information gained from a Beltran Leyva leader arrested in May:
After his arrest in May of this year Geovanny Lizárraga Ontiveros, a northern Sinaloa Beltran Leyva leader, confessed that he and Isidro Meza "el Chapo Isidro" had the Ahome police force on their payroll.In a news conference to announce the arrests, Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez explained that "In Ahome there are signs that the police are committing crimes, so the 32 officers and commanders were arrested with the assistance of federal authorities."
This municipality and the municipalities of Culiacan, Mazatlan and Navolato are where most of the more than 1,800 homicides in the state in 2011, including more than 80 police officers, are concentrated. It should also be mentioned that the Sinaloa cartel is widely believed to have deeply infiltrated the command structure of the state police forces in Sinaloa.
Police corruption is nothing new, but the extent of alleged criminality within the police department in Ahome is remarkable. However, the comments of Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez in the aftermath of the arrests do little to allay concerns regarding the extent of police corruption within Sinaloa — and throughout Mexico. A November 15 article for Fox News Latino conveys both the governor’s commitment to root out corruption — and the hint that further mass arrests of police officers may be seen in the near future:
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo: A gang of Mexican police officers was charged in the killings of 17 people in Toluca, Mexico, in 1999: AP Images