Mexico: Over 150 police in Durango state arrested on suspicion of organized crime links

This picture taken on May 16, 2011 shows a cemetery in Durango, the capital of the Mexican state of the same name, where bodies found in several mass graves were to be given a proper burial. Durango state sits on a key drug smuggling route to the United States and has been the scene of many drug-related murders in recent years.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Soldiers in northern Mexico arrested more than 150 police officers in two cities on suspicion of having links to organized crime, the BBC reported.

Al Jazeera reported investigators had evidence that the officers in Gomez Palacio and Lerdo in the northern state of Durango, which sits on a key drug smuggling route to the United States, had been “protecting and sharing information with drug traffickers for at least the past three years.”

Soldiers and state police officers would be in charge of security in the two cities while the investigation continued, the Associated Press reported.

Corruption within the Mexican police force runs deep.

Powerful drug cartels often offer money – or threaten violence – to local police officers for information about raids and investigations.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party last month announced plans to create a 10,000-strong national police force to crack down on crime, Press TV reported previously.

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