August 30, 2010 / 7:47 PM / 9 years ago

Mexico sacks nearly a tenth of federal police

MEXICO CITY, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Authorities in Mexico have fired nearly 10 percent of the federal police force as President Felipe Calderon seeks to rein in powerful drug cartels and curb widespread corruption among Mexican police.

"Because they failed to carry out duties established in the federal police law, 3,200 policemen were fired," Deputy Police Chief Facundo Rosas said at a press conference on Monday.

Another 465 policemen, including a police chief in the violent northern city of Ciudad Juarez who was turned in for corruption by his own staff, will also be fired.

A federal police spokesman said some of those fired had failed drug, lie detector or vision tests or had been found to have assets that could not be accounted for by superiors.

He declined to comment on whether any were suspected of police corruption, a common complaint in Mexico, where police are known to solicit bribes and even work with the very drug cartels the government is trying to fight.

Before the dismissals, there were about 34,500 federal police officers.

When Calderon took office in late 2006, he deployed more than 50,000 troops and federal police because local police forces there had failed to stop rising violence.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since Calderon launched his war on drugs, prompting fears that bloodshed could undermine tourism and investment as Mexico slowly recovers from its worst recession since 1932.

Suspected drug hitmen killed the mayor of a small town in northern Mexico over the weekend in Tamaulipas state where two car bombs exploded and the bodies of 72 murdered migrant workers were found last week. (Reporting by Cyntia Barrera and Anahi Rama; editing by Missy Ryan and Eric Walsh) (here)

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