Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mexico’s Zetas “corrupts” U.S. agents says DHS official

Mexico’s Zetas drug gang has engaged in the “systematic corruption” of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Customs agents according to remarks made today by acting Inspector General Charles K. Edwards.

As part of testimony grated to the Senate subcommittee on national security, Edwards said that the Zetas offer “cash bribes, sexual favor and other services in exchange for smuggling contraband or illegal immigrants through border inspection areas.” The corrupt agents would “protect or act as bodyguards” for cross-border shipments, tip off suspected Zeta members, and sell intelligence information according to Edwards. He added that this is a national security concern since lax border enforcement could lead to “terrorists” or “weapons of mass destruction” entering the U.S.

Edwards’ concerns were shared by USBP commissioner Alan Bersin who testified that the agency’s “bad apples…betrayed the confidence of the people and their colleagues.” He highlighted that the USBP is cracking down on dirty agents and have arrested or convicted 127 officers for corruption since October 2004.

Bersin was very critical of Mexico’s anti-crime offensive under President Felipe Calderon:
For Bersin, the decision by Mexican President Felipe Calderon to combat drug gangs that used to operate in impunity along with the increase in USBP agents expanded the “incentives and opportunities” to corrupt border agents.
In the meantime, Mexican marines seized several Zetas arsenals over the past week, which includes hundreds of rifles, numerous handguns and even a rocket launcher. Despite the decrease in firepower, the Zetas remain as one of Mexico’s most dangerous drug gangs. Their influence has reached parts of Central America including suspicions of being behind the massacre of 27 Guatemalans last month.

Online Sources- MSNBC, LAHT, El Universal,, Noticiero Televisa

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