Mexico Federal Police to Run Security in 12 Guerrero Towns

Mexico’s federal police took over security in 12 towns in the southern state of Guerrero after investigators uncovered alleged links between local police and organized crime, a security official said.

The evidence of collusion came to light as authorities investigate the disappearance last month of 43 students from the town of Iguala in Guerrero, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said at a news conference yesterday.

Members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, acting in tandem with local police, killed 17 of the missing education students last month in Iguala, 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Mexico City, after clashes with law enforcement left six people dead, Guerrero prosecutor Inaky Blanco said on Oct. 6. Authorities are searching for the town mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, for questioning, the Attorney General’s office said last week.

“It’s good that the federal police are there, but if there aren’t changes at the base of local government, it will be very difficult to improve the situation,” Alejandro Schtulmann, president and head of research at Mexico City-based political risk consulting firm EMPRA, said by phone. “Guerrero needs a change at the base of its judicial system.”

The federal police are also taking control of one town in the State of Mexico, while authorities continue to search for the missing students, Rubido said.

Mass Graves

A surge in violence has left more than 70,000 dead in Mexico since President Enrique Pena Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderon, sent the army to fight drug cartels in his home state of Michoacan in 2006, according to Mexico City-based newspaper Milenio.

Mutilated bodies were found in mass graves in Iguala earlier this month. The first remains identified don’t correspond to the missing students, Attorney General Jesus Murillo said on Oct. 17.

Thirty-six police from Iguala and another nearby town and 16 alleged gang members suspected of kidnapping the students have been detained, Murillo said.

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