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Mexico: 35 police officers arrested for drug cartel links

The Mexican navy arrested 35 police officers on Monday for allegedly having links to the powerful Zetas drug cartel.

The navy said the suspects were arrested in the eastern state of Veracruz and San Luis Potosi, both strongholds of the Zetas cartel, Agence France Presse reported.

"They were all police officers in the Veracruz public security department and allegedly collaborated with the Zetas criminal organization," the navy said in a statement, according to AFP.

A navy source told AFP that those arrested will be taken to Mexico City to be presented to the media.

Reuters noted that drug gangs are able to corrupt officials and the police because they can often pay more than the officials earn in their salaries.

Four of those arrested were women, and all of the suspects belonged to the federal police in Veracruz, Reuters noted. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said last year that the state had been "left in the hands" of the Zetas.

The BBC said the federal government deployed thousands of troops and federal police to Veracruz last year. The state is in the midst of a turf war between the Zetas and rival gangs.

The Zetas originally worked for the Gulf drug cartel, before they broke ties in 2010 and became independent.

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An estimated 60,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Calderon took office six years ago, Reuters said. There have been several recent reports of dismembered bodies and unidentifiable corpses found as warnings from the drug cartels.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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Thousands of soldiers have been deployed across Mexico to fight the powerful drug cartels.