Mexico City, Jan 21 (IANS/EFE) As many as 158 police personnel have been arrested in the northern Mexican state of Durango for alleged ties to organized crime, officials said.
Durango state Attorney General Sonia Yadira de la Garza told Milenio Television that agents from the State Bureau of Investigation - backed by federal police and army troops - detained the suspects Friday in the city of Gomez Palacio.
She said 110 of the police belong to the municipal force in the town of Lerdo while the other 48 are employed in Gomez Palacio, adding that the detainees include commanders and administrative staff.
The operation stems from information gathered from criminal suspects, who said those police provided them with protection and even collaborated in kidnappings, De la Garza said.
The investigation shows these police had spent three years aiding and abetting Sinaloa drug-cartel members, the prosecutor said.
De la Garza said federal and state police will temporarily take over law-enforcement duties in Lerdo and Gomez Palacio.
Both are part of northern Mexico's Comarca Lagunera metropolitan area, which has seen an uptick in drug-related violence in recent years attributed to a turf war between the Sinaloa cartel and the rival Los Zetas mob, Mexico's two most powerful organized crime gangs.