Marines surrounded a facility Tuesday in the Mexican beach town of Acapulco, rounding up hundreds of people and stripping them of "weapons, ballistic vests, cartridges, and communication radios," a spokesman for a joint law enforcement and military task force says, per CNN. Those arrested included Acapulco's entire municipal police force, suspected of having been infiltrated and taken over by drug gangs. The seizure by the Guerrero Coordination Group—made up of state and federal police, as well as the military, among others—ended up with two police commanders under arrest for murder, and the highway police chief hit with charges for carrying unlicensed weapons, Al Jazeera reports. Meanwhile, the rest of the police force, including chief Max Lorenzo Sedano, are now under investigation for their ties to organized crime, per the BBC.
The GCG decided to move in as "a consequence of the increase in crime that has been registered in the municipality, and the lack of action by the police to deal with it," the government noted in a statement, per Al Jazeera. Acapulco, once a vacation haven, has become mired in violent crime in recent years; last year, the Washington Post deemed it "Mexico's murder capital." Mexico News Daily notes poorly paid municipal cops are often vulnerable to infiltration by gangs, which sometimes offer to pay police and sometimes threaten to kill them if they don't cooperate. The streets of Acapulco won't be unmanned while the investigation is ongoing: State police, federal cops, and military members will take over patrolling duties for now, per the New York Times. (Read more Mexico stories.)