Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mexico anti-drug officials worked for cartel: government

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Six members of a government crime-fighting unit have been arrested on suspicion of working for a powerful drug cartel run by the country's most-wanted man, the attorney general's office said on Wednesday

The officials, who focused on organized crime, are accused of passing crucial information about anti-drug operations to the Sinaloa cartel from Mexico's Pacific coast. It is led by kingpin Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

The suspects gave the information to a part of the cartel that has recently turned on Guzman, the government said.

That internal conflict has sparked a surge in the drug-related violence that has killed some 2,000 people in Mexico this year.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has made crushing drug gangs the main goal of his six-year term, sending troops across Mexico on taking office in December 2006.

But drug violence has spiraled as rival gangs fight for control of lucrative smuggling routes into the United States.

Endemic police corruption has further complicated efforts to rid Mexico of cartels, with some police officers moonlighting as drug hitmen and kidnappers.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Xavier Briand)