Police with links to organized crime detained in Guerrero

Close to 70 percent of the 18,000 municipal police who failed vetting tests in Mexico are concentrated in ten states, underscoring the weakness and vulnerability to corruption of local security forces in areas that are also hubs for organized crime.

According to a report from the Secretary General of National Public Safety (SESNSP), over 18,000 of the 135,511 municipal police subjected to vetting tests nationwide failed to pass. Sixty-seven percent of these police officers were concentrated in ten states, with Veracruz, Baja California Sur, and Sinaloa home to municipal police forces where over 60 percent of the officers did not meet basic standards, reported El Universal.

The numbers were equally high for state police forces, with 20,521 state police officers failing to pass vetting tests, according to a report by the civil society organization Causa en Comun. In total, including federal police, 42,214 police officers were deemed unfit for service. According to the report, 17 states have yet to dismiss the police who failed vetting tests.  

InSight Crime Analysis

Troublingly, at least half of the states where the municipal police who failed vetting tests are concentrated are also hotspots for organized crime. In Veracruz, for example, where 77 percent of municipal police failed, the Zetas and the "Zetas Killers," a splinter group of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation, both have a significant presence. The state of Guerrero -- where 1,315 municipal police failed vetting tests -- recently saw the disappearance of 43 student protesters, a crime that was allegedly carried out by corrupt police colluding with the Guerreros Unidos criminal group.   

SEE ALSO: Zetas News and Profiles

Low salaries and a lack of education are likely factors that contribute to the vulnerability of municipal police forces to corruption. According to data from Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) cited by El Universal, 78 percent of the country's municipal police make less than $727 a month, which could make them more likely to accept bribes. Three of the states home to large numbers of low-paid municipal police -- Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Jalisco -- are also among the ten states where police who failed to pass vetting tests are concentrated. Similarly, according to INEGI data from 2013, over 12 percent of municipal police had completed primary school or less, with Oaxaca and Michoacan among the states with the highest numbers of uneducated police. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...