Mexico's Anti-Corruption Efforts Are a "Mess"

By McCarton Ackerman 04/17/13

The government's "Operation Cleanup" is reportedly failing due to its own corruption.

Operation Cleanup was started under Felipe
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The Mexican government's "Operation Cleanup" was intended to help stamp out organized crime by clamping down on corruption within the country's organized crime bureau, but the operation itself has been riddled with corruption from the start, the LA Times reports. Shortly after it was launched in 2008, under former president Felipe Calderón, 25 top law enforcement officials were accused of acting as moles for a leading drug cartel—assisting the very people they were supposed to be prosecuting. However, only 13 of those arrested were formally charged and eight of them have since been released, with a ninth acquitted of charges. “The collapse of the cases underscored the long way Mexico has to go in revamping its sclerotic judiciary,” writes the Times. Last Monday, Noe Ramirez Mandujano, Mexico's former anti-drug czar, was absolved and released from prison after spending 4.5 years behind bars. In the ruling, Judge Mauricio Fernandez de la Mora said government prosecutors had used questionable testimony from unidentified "protected witnesses" who were coached to fabricate or completely make up evidence. Fernandez also suggested that testimony from the government's "star" witness, code name "Jennifer," had been made up. Jesus Murillo Karam, the attorney general under new President Enrique Peña Nieto, has been ordered to investigate whether prosecutors in charge of Operation Cleanup broke the law in the attempt to build their cases. But it is unclear whether Murillo will have any better success at weeding out corruption, as reports from incoming officials suggest that the agency under his leadership is "morbidly dysfunctional."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.