After a surprise investigation was conducted last Tuesday at a police precinct in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, 51 arrests have been made with at least 3 high ranking officers charged for association to organized crime and drug trafficking.
Federal police and the marines detained 246 officers and officials until official credentials were produced. Thirty-one of those arrested were shortly after released on charges of operating without full accreditation, leaving 20 to face the courts.
According to investigators, not all offenders were police officers. A number of cartel members had infiltrated the force pretending to be officers. One “officer,” known as "El Cadete," had joined the force 20 days prior and was known by police from past infractions.
“You can’t trust the cops here, the only people they take care of are the tourists,” Miguel Angel Romero, a local, told Fox reporters. “They don’t care about the terror the locals live with in the neighborhoods away from the beach.”
One local magistrate, who prefers to remain anonymous, reported to Fox News, that the municipal police are sure to be shut down after this incident. “They are extremely corrupt and have only made organized crime worse in Zihua,” he said.
Suspicions were first aroused after an incident in April that led to the disappearance and eventual death of three officers. The three had been questioned and denied any knowledge of criminal activities within the department. Later during a raid of a security undercover narcos working in the precinct shot and killed the officers.
“The killers were the same men who I saw every day in the precint,” reported the magistrate, who worked in the department. “They killed the young men in broad daylight and later laughed about it.”
Compared to its neighbors, which house 62 drug gangs, the city Zihuatanejo has been a more peaceful tourist attraction. However, one local journalists told reporters that there are now two gangs residing in the area. “The Sangre Nueva Generacion (‘New Generation Blood’ an associated of Jorge "El Chapo" Guzman's cartel), which controls the beachfront and touristic areas, and the Fulana group controls the villages and wider region around the town,” the journalist said.
Influence from these gangs have grown so prominent that the judicial process is nearly impossible to complete and honest officials and officers are subject to threats of torture and death if they fail to comply.
Residents of this Mexican town are hopeful that the state’s involvement in the situation will discourage further damage to the city and its residents.