MEXICO CITY – The governments of Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District on Monday began their first coordinated operation against crime.
Some 310,000 police officers are participating in the plan conceived by the governor’s conference, known as Conago, which seeks to reduce robberies, kidnappings, extortion and murders.
Drug trafficking and racketeering crimes are federal offenses.
The week-long operation, dubbed Conago-1, was launched at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.
In the Federal District police will be deployed in the “zones of the greatest frequency of criminal activity,” as well as at the “entry and exit points on highway stretches, around the Mexico City Airport, bus terminals” and train stations, among other places, authorities said.
In Nuevo Leon, one of the states that has been most affected by criminal violence in recent months, Gov. Rodrigo Medina said that the operation seeks to assemble “a national jigsaw puzzle” against crime and deal with law-breaking “bands that have great mobility.”
The governor of the border state of Chihuahua, which accounted for nearly a third of Mexico’s homicides in 2010, acknowledged in a press conference that much remains to be done on the security agenda.
“In Chihuahua, the advances we have (had) in security, although they motivate us, have never left us satisfied because a single crime is enough to damage the spirit of the public, which is certainly being hurt,” Cesar Duarte said.
The joint operation was approved on June 10 at a Conago meeting on the very day that the Caravan for Peace, led by a prominent poet whose son died at the hands of gangsters, arrived in Mexico’s deadliest city after a cross-country journey to rally support for an alternative to the government’s war on drugs.
Ciudad Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has suffered nearly 9,000 murders since the start of 2008.
Javier Sicilia, whose son, Juan Francisco, was murdered in late March by drug traffickers, presided in Juarez over the signing of a 70-point pact for the reconstruction of Mexico.
“We demand the immediate end of the war strategy, the demilitarization of the police, the return of the army to the barracks and the withdrawal of military immunity (from civilian courts),” said the final agreement.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and nearly 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Conago each day will share the results achieved in the current operation with the federal government and next Monday Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the governors group, will make them public. EFE