Cartels Come Down Hard on Mexican Cops

Local law enforcement wages drug war within and without
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 9, 2007 10:01 AM CDT
Sonora state police man a roadblock days after a gunbattle between police and a drug cartel assault force that overran a town last May 16 near the Arizona border that left 23 dead, including five police...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Despite the Mexican government's vow to crack down on drug cartels, local police forces are outmanned, outmaneuvered, and outgunned by the more sophisticated trafficking organizations, the Los Angeles Time reports. The ill-prepared and often corrupt community police have emerged as the weakest link in the offensive against drug trafficking on which Felipe Calderon's presidency depends.

Local police forces, which make up 60% of Mexican law enforcement, are underpaid and highly susceptible to bribery. They have little more than pistols to battle cartel associates armed with machine guns. In May, traffickers abducted and killed five officers in Cananea, near the border with Arizona. Within hours, half of the rest of the town's 48 officers quit. (Read more Mexico stories.)