Mexican military disarm entire police force in resort city of Acapulco 'corrupted by drug gangs'

Two police commanders accused of murder, while other officers face background checks

Harriet Agerholm
Wednesday 26 September 2018 21:27 BST
Mexican military disarm entire police force in resort city of Acapulco 'corrupted by drug gangs'

Mexican authorities have taken control of the entire police force in the southern Mexican city of Acapulco, claiming the department has been infiltrated by drug gangs.

Two police commanders have been accused of murder, while the rest of the force officers have been stripped of their guns, radios and bulletproof vests and taken for background checks.

Acapulco – a beach resort – was a fashionable location favoured by movie stars in the 1950s and 60s, but has since been plagued by escalating violence due to warring drug gangs.

State police and the military will now assume the law enforcement responsibilities in the city, which has some 800,000 residents.

The state government said it took the step “because of suspicion that the force had probably been infiltrated by criminal groups” and “the complete inaction of the municipal police in fighting the crime wave”.

Last year, Acapulco had a murder rate of 103 per 100,000 residents, one of the highest in Mexico and the world.

The CIA has said the level of violence is comparable with war zones such as Syria and Iraq.

Bodies are regularly dumped on the beachfront or left hanging from motorway bridges, according to reports.

Following the military takeover, the US government repeated its travel warning advising its citizens not to travel in Guerrero state due to the armed groups that are active in the region.

Local police in several parts of Mexico have been disbanded over drug cartel corruption. In Guerrero alone, local police have been disarmed in more than a dozen towns and cities since 2014, although none as large as Acapulco.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, one of the hardest hit by drug violence, almost all local police forces state-wide have been disbanded since 2011.

With low pay and little training, local police in Mexico are particularly vulnerable to drug cartels, which offer them money and threaten to kill them.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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