Mexico: Organized Crime Chief Steps Down

Published: 16 November 2012


The head of Mexico's organized crime unit stepped down on Thursday, just weeks after announcing that members of his team had been charged with having links to the nation's most powerful drug cartel, Reuters reported.

A spokesman said that Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas resigned for "personal reasons," and that the resignation would take immediate effect.  Salinas will be replaced by Rodrigo Archundia Barrientos, an expert on kidnappings at the organized crime unit.

On October 17, Salinas said the Mexican government had charged seven officials, including three members of his unit, with passing information to the Sinaloa cartel, dubbed by the United States Intelligence Community the “most powerful drug-trafficking organization in the world.”

Salinas himself was not being investigated, the spokesman at the attorney general's office said.

Mexico's powerful drug cartels are suspected of spending millions of dollars a year to corrupt officials, but charges are not common and convictions are extremely rare, Reuters reported. Earlier this month, Mexico charged 14 federal police officers with the attempted murder of two CIA operatives in early October. The daylight attack was suspected to have been ordered by a drug cartel.

President Felipe Calderon leaves office at the end of the month, and though putting a stop to gang violence and drug activity was a cornerstone of his campaign, gang-related violence increased by more than 700 percent during his six-year presidency. More than 60,000 people have been killed.