Drug influence and corruption have spread across several local and regional Mexican police authorities, forcing the government to disband entire agencies.
The Mexican government has deployed the military to take over police functions in the popular resort town Acapulco. The entire police force in the city was disarmed and all guns, radios and bulletproof vests were seized. All officers in the police department are currently being subjected to background checks, with two commanders accused of murder.
The Mexican authorities took this step in the face of escalated drug violence in Acapulco, a southern Mexican beach city. The government says the police force has been taken over by drug gangs. The authorities accuse the police department of “complete inaction…in fighting the crime wave.”
Crime Levels in Acapulco Called Comparable to Syria and Iraq
A city of about 800,000 residents, Acapulco records a murder rate of 103 per 100,000 people which is regarded as one of the highest rates in the country and the world. The CIA said crime levels in Acapulco are comparable with Syria, Iraq and other war zones. According to The Independent, bodies of victims are dumped on beaches or left hanging from bridges.
With the military takeover, soldiers and state police will undertake law enforcement activities in Acapulco. The crime rate and the activities of militant armed groups’ in the state of Guerrero, caused the U.S. government to issue a travel warning to American citizens to stay away from the region.
Drug Violence Forces Military Takeover of Multiple Mexican Police Agencies
This is not the first time the Mexican government has disarmed and disbanded a local police department over infiltration of drug lords. Drug influence and corruption have reportedly spread across several local and regional police authorities, forcing the government to often disband law enforcement. Several towns and cities in Guerrero state have had their police disarmed, but Acapulco is the largest city to undergo the drastic measure.
Since 2011, most of the local police forces in the northern state of Tamaulipas have been disbanded. Tamaulipas is one of the regions where drug violence is most rampant. Local police in Mexico are low-paid and often have little training, making them frequent targets of powerful drug cartels which offer huge bribes to compromise them. The cartels will also threaten to harm or even kill police officers.