Mexico’s former Interpol officials face trail for drug links

January 17th, 2009 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, Jan 17 (IANS) Mexican authorities have ordered two former heads of Interpol Mexico to be sent to prison and await trial for their alleged nexus with the a powerful drug cartel, EFE news agency reported. According to the Attorney General’s Office, Rodolfo de la Guardia Garcia and Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas were brought before a court in the northeastern Mexican state of Nayarit Thursday and later jailed pending their trial.

The two officials had been under house arrest since October last year.

Prosecutors said Guardia received some $10,000 a month from the Sinaloa drug cartel while he was a director at Mexico’s Interpol offices to place corrupt police officers in strategic posts at the Federal Investigations Agency, Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI.

Vargas, who was removed from his post as director at Interpol Mexico in November, is accused of providing confidential information to the the drug cartel “in exchange for different amounts of money”.

The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most notorous drug group which primarily operates in the northeastern part of Mexico covering the states of Baja California, Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora and Chihuahua.

Since taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers and federal police to nearly a dozen of Mexico’s 31 states in a bid to stem the wave of violence unleashed by the drug traffickers.

The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due to the drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking prosecutors.

As part of the probe, which begun after a protected informant revealed links between drug cartel kingpins and police, a dozen high-ranking officials, including erstwhile drug czar Noe Ramirez, have been arrested.

The initial investigation concluded that Ramirez received $500,000 a month for sharing intelligence with drug lords.

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