Police officers in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, seemed angry, resentful, and bored this week, reports the Houston Chronicle. Their weapons had been taken away, their patrol cars locked up. Many wondered whether they still had jobs. Their new chief was assassinated June 8, hours after he took the oath of office. And 41 of their fellow officers were flown to Mexico City for questioning after they stopped a convoy of plainclothes federal investigators and wounded an agent. A presidential spokesman accused the police force of being in the pocket of two powerful drug cartels fighting to control the smuggling routes that run from this city of 500,000 into Dallas and beyond.
Since the Saturday confrontation with the agents of the Federal Investigative Agency, or AFI, the city’s 750-member police force has been disarmed, forced to undergo drug tests, and ordered to remain at headquarters. Officer Martha Evelia Rivera said salaries of police average just $600 a month, a wage that has not increased in several years. “The pay is very low, and it should be higher,” she said. “That’s the reason police ask for money – the salary.” She thinks the federal investigation is necessary “so the bad ones will go.” How many of the 750 police are bad? “Five hundred,” she replied.