MEXICO CITY – The coordinated anti-crime operation launched by authorities in Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District has resulted in the arrests of 3,705 people, the seizure of 131 firearms and the recovery of 1,258 stolen vehicles in six days, officials said Sunday.
The operation, the first of its kind, was launched last Monday by the National Conference of Governors, or Conago, in support of the federal government’s strategy for fighting drug traffickers and other criminal organizations.
“Operation Conago-1” has deployed 310,000 police officers in Mexico’s states to fight crime.
“The fundamental purpose of Conago-1 is to prevent and fight crime, such as vehicle theft, robberies of passengers during transport, kidnappings, the recovery of arms (and the) dismantling of criminal gangs, as well as actions intended to ensure compliance with judicial orders,” Conago and Mexico City’s government said.
Operation Conago-1 is scheduled to end at midnight, and final figures for the operation will be provided on Monday, officials said.
Police have served 721 warrants and other court orders during the operation, officials said.
Last week, the federal government praised the operation and said it would support state officials’ efforts to fight crime.
About 90 percent of the crimes committed in Mexico are violations of state laws, federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in a posting on his blog.
“The fight for the security of Mexicans cannot and should not be a policy of just one of the levels of government. Its effectiveness in closing off the ability of criminals to operate is based on its being a permanent effort within the framework of a common front,” Poire said.
The operation launched by Conago opened a “new stage in the fight against crime in which state leaders are reinforcing compliance with their legal obligations in dealing with crime,” Poire said.
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.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.