Official: Mexico port police infiltrated by narcos

December 22, 2011 - 2:21 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican armed forces official says police in the Gulf port city of Veracruz were heavily infiltrated by criminal elements, primarily the deadly Zetas drug cartel.

The official says it could take months to replace the 800 officers and 300 administrative employees who were dismissed Wednesday in Mexico's most dramatic step to date in battling corrupt cops.

He said Thursday that about 800 marines will patrol the city of 700,000 in the meantime. He could not be named for security reasons.

Veracruz state government spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said the mass firing was not about corruption; rather it was done to meet a federal edict to build new police forces certified under stricter standards.

Dominguez says none of the dismissed employees is under investigation for corruption.