Mexico Busts Former Drug Czar

Former head of elite 'corruption-proof' unit accused of passing info to drug cartels
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2008 7:26 AM CST
Soldiers display seized heroin during an anti-drug operation in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, May 13, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
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(Newser) – The former chief of Mexico's anti-drug operations has been arrested on suspicion of taking massive bribes from drug cartels, the Wall Street Journal reports. Noe Ramirez, accused of  pocketing $450,000 for passing information on investigations to drug kingpins, is the highest-ranking official arrested so far in "Operation Cleanup," the Mexican campaign to root out corruption that has already fingered 35 high-ranking law enforcement officials.

Ramirez ran the country's elite anti-drug agency until August, when he was selected to be Mexico's envoy to the UN's drug control office in Vienna. America's chief antidrug official praised Mexico's efforts to tackle corruption, but noted that it's likely to make US counternarcotics forces even more wary of sharing intel with their Mexican counterparts.
(Read more Mexico stories.)