10/19/11 — Veracruz Secretary of Public Safety (Departamento de Seguridad Pública, DSP) Arturo Bermudez Zurita announced Tuesday that 980 state police agents have been dismissed after failing lie detector and confidentiality tests. Only 27% of the 6,000 members who comprise the forces have been tested.
Tuesday’s announcement comes only four days after Mexican President Calderón proclaimed that control of Veracruz had been turned over to the Zetas drug cartel. Veracruz, once a relatively quiet and safe drug trafficking and toursity area has seen a drastic rise in drug crimes since mid-2011. The Washington Post reports that 67 people have died in two recent mass killings apparently linked to the Sinaloa cartel targeting the Zetas cartel. President Calderón has deployed federal troops and police to Veracruz.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Bermudez announced the three assessment and control centers in the state are still working towards creating a 100% confidence rate of the full police force. Bermudez also recognized the new reality of losing nearly 1,000 state police officers and the overwhelming gaps in numbers of officers in the field. Bermudez outlined policy suggestions from the state government to raising police salary to combat corruption.
Last week in Veracruz, the DSP and federal police announced the arrest of Christian Arturo Hernández Tarín, the ringleader of a drug trafficking organization called “La Barredora”. La Barredora was engaged in a violent war for control of Acapulco and the pacific coast. Hernández’s group warred with the Independent Acapulco Cartel for control of the resort since 2010 when Beltrán-Leyva Cartel head Edgar Valdez Villareal, also known as “La Barbie,” was captured. Both La Barredora and the Independent Acapulco Cartel were splinters of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel. The frequent splintering and warring between different cartels has caused a wave of violence and corruption that has terrorized the inhabitants of Acapulco and the state of Veracruz. The amount of influence different cartels have over police forces has also added to public mistrust and fear.