Police Chief on Cartel Payroll Arrested in Northern Mexico

Published January 07, 2011

Nov. 19: Mexican army soldiers patrol the streets in Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas State, Mexico. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

A municipal police chief in the northern state of Nuevo Leon was arrested by army troops for allegedly providing assistance to Los Zetas, one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, officials said.

Jesus Almazan Barbosa served as police chief of San Nicolas de los Garza, a suburb of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, state security council spokesman Jorge Domene said.

Almazan ordered some of his officers to monitor the movements of army troops so he could report them to Los Zetas, the former armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Domene said.

Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel have been at war since early last year.

After some "policemen from San Nicolas de los Garza tried to block a 7th Military Zone operation, three officers were arrested, and they identified Almazan as the chief of the informants for organized crime," Domene said.

Army troops handed Almazan over to a criminal court judge, who will handle the case, the state security council spokesman said.

"The cleaning out of police officers in Nuevo Leon is constant, but this arrest should tell mayors that they must push these actions further," Domene said.

Authorities will go after any public servant linked to organized crime, the state security council spokesman said.

Nuevo Leon has a law on the books that punishes those who spy on the army to assist organized crime groups, Domene said.

"It was frustrating before seeing people who were arrested for this getting out immediately with small bail, but now this new law means that those who are arrested for this crime are detained," the state security council spokesman said.

Nuevo Leon was rocked by a wave of drug-related violence last year that left 517 people dead, including 30 innocent victims and more than 70 municipal police officers, federal officers and soldiers.

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