Pubdate: Sat, 18 Jan 2003
Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Copyright: 2003 Sun Publishing Co.
Author: Susana Hayward, Washington Bureau


State's Workers Said In Cahoots With Traffickers

MEXICO CITY - Soldiers and police in battle gear Thursday raided 
anti-narcotics offices in 11 Mexican states where narcotics agents are 
suspected of colluding with drug traffickers.

Ordered by Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, the operation to 
disband Mexico's top drug-fighting agency, the Federal Prosecutors Office 
for Drug Crimes, or FEADS, was the largest anti-corruption strike in recent 
Mexican history.

Justice officials said Friday that they had confiscated documents from 
FEADS offices in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, 
Chiapas, Guerrero, Baja California, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Yucatan and Jalisco.

There were no arrests, but hundreds of federal police officers and 
employees were placed under military control while they are investigated 
for possible offenses including bribery and abuse of authority.

"FEADS is going to disappear," Macedo de la Concha said Friday. "We're 
going to get rid of these people. They're going to the street or to jail."

The coordinated action to dismantle networks of officials who collude with 
drug cartels is a new tactic in Mexico's battle with organized crime: 
mounting dragnets instead of small busts.

President Vicente Fox, Mexico's first president from an opposition party in 
71 years, praised the attorney general, who oversees all police agencies, 
and the secretary of defense, saying they were key players in his 
administration's vow to combat official corruption.

"We will continue to clean up the attorney general's office to its deepest 
core," Fox said in Tijuana.

"This won't be the only case; there are others. If we go after each and 
every member of any police force ... we will ensure that there's no 
collusion with organized crime, that there's no corruption or dishonesty."

Fox's crackdown on drug lords and corrupt police has been considered one of 
the major successes of his administration. Cooperation with U.S. 
law-enforcement authorities on drug issues also has improved, as trust has 
grown that Mexican officials will not betray U.S. agents or their 
intelligence sources.
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