Mexico replaced the federal police chiefs from each of its 31 states and the Federal District yesterday, pending polygraph and drug tests to determine whether they are on the right side of the law in the foundering drug war, reports the Los Angeles Times. The surprise purge of top leaders of the federal police and an elite federal investigations agency comes as Mexican President Felipe Calderon seeks traction in a 6-month-old campaign against drug traffickers that has neither stemmed killings nor slowed shipments.
Corruption among local, state and federal law enforcement has for years given cover to drug smuggling gangs, now at war over access routes to the U.S. and over Mexico’s growing domestic markets. About a third of Mexico’s 20,000-member federal police force, which investigates all drug crimes and homicides, works alongside the 12,000 soldiers employed in Calderon’s anti-trafficking campaign. That pairing has raised speculation about information being leaked to smugglers and growers. U.S. street prices remain stable, suggesting that suppliers continue to smuggle narcotics over the U.S.-Mexico border relatively undisturbed.