Conflict & Justice

Mexican military takes control of Mexican state of Veracruz


A medal of the Zetas drug cartel on display at the Museum of Drugs in Mexico City, Aug. 18, 2010.


Ronaldo Schemidt

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.

(GlobalPost reports: Mexico horror: 35 corpses dumped)

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

In October Mexican President Felipe Calderon 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.