Mexican Police Demand Better Tools to Fight Drug War
The violence in Mexico does not just affect the civilians or the drug cartels, it also hits the police force. In a recent news report, police in the northern part of the country protested hours after three of their colleagues were shot to death in an ambush.
In the city of San Nicolas de los Garza, a suburb of the industrial hub of Monterrey, local police gathered outside police stations, shouting demands at their superiors. Officers want better weapons, equipment and life insurance.
One officer who did not want to be identified noted that the group want their rifles back. He also pointed out one of the officers killed in the shootout did not have a bulletproof vest. Some officers have received these vests, while others have not.
While the officers have agreed to continue working while under protest while their demands are being met. Video from the scene of the ambush revealed the officers’ patrol cars had been riddled with bullets.
The ambush was blamed on a local drug gang and police say they do not have the high-powered weapons necessary to match the firepower of their opponents. The other problem plaguing police forces are rumors surrounding the collusion of many members of municipal forces in Nuevo Leon state with drug gangs.
Problems have gotten so bad that in June, the state prohibited municipal officers from carrying personal cell phones due to concerns they were using them to tip off traffickers about federal raids. At the same time, some officers have been stripped of their assault rifles after incidents of local police confronting federal agents when trying to arrest drug suspects.
The wave of crime has especially hit the northern city of Ciudad Juarez. On Saturday, federal police announced the arrest of three men accused of running an extortion ring that targeted businesses within the city.