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Military takes over policing of Veracruz
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Mexico

Military takes over policing of Veracruz

Police not stemming drug violence in city, Mexican officials say

  • The Mexican military has reportedly taken over law enforcement in the port city of Veracruz where violence between the Sinaloa and Zetas drug cartels has escalated.
    Drpoulette/FlickrThe Mexican military has reportedly taken over law enforcement in the port city of Veracruz where violence between the Sinaloa and Zetas drug cartels has escalated.

The entire police force of the drug-violence plagued Mexican port city of Veracruz is being disbanded and the navy will take over control, officials reportedly said.

According to The Associated Press:

Armed marines have barricaded police headquarters and navy helicopters were flying above the city where 35 bodies were dumped in September. It was one of the worst gang attacks of Mexico's drug war.

Two drug cartels — the Zetas and the Sinaloas — are vying for supremacy in Veracruz.

In October Mexican President Felipe Calderón said that Veracruz state had been "left in the hands of the brutal Zetas drug cartel."

According to a separate AP report, while he had previously complained about Mexican state governments not doing enough to stop the cartels, it was the first time he'd suggested a state was largely turned over to traffickers.

"I believe Veracruz was left in the hands of the Zetas, I don't know if it was involuntary, probably, I hope so," Calderon reportedly told a meeting of crime victims' groups in Mexico City, adding that "if we hadn't taken on organized crime, they would have taken over the country, I assure you."

The government in Veracruz state reportedly said on Wednesday that 800 police officers and 300 administrative employees had been laid off in an effort to root out corruption.

At a news conference, state spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said they could still apply for state police jobs but must meet stricter standards.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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