Mexico arrested its head of Interpol on Tuesday for allegedly working for a powerful drug cartel and sent the military to take over police duties in the city of Tijuana in another step to flush out corrupt law enforcement.
Ricardo Gutierrez was Mexico’s representative to Interpol, the world’s largest international police force, and the latest top police officer to be locked up on suspicion of working for drug traffickers.
In October, two leading anti-drug agents were jailed for taking bribes of “up to $450,000 a month” from the Beltran Leyva crime group to leak intelligence about police operations.
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The Beltran Leyva brothers recently split from the Sinaloa drug cartel run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, and also were bribing Gutierrez, prosecutors said.
Widespread corruption among Mexico’s badly paid police is undermining President Felipe Calderon’s army-backed war on drug gangs, which has claimed more than 4,300 lives this year.
Police corruption forced Calderon to turn to the army, which is seen as less corrupt, when he launched an all-out crackdown on violent cartels after taking office in 2006.