[JURIST] Following Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez’s resignation [JURIST report] in April, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) [official website] charged 111 officials who served under him with corruption on Thursday. Sixty-seven were charged [El Sol de Mexico report, in Spanish] with fraud while others were charged with varying offenses including falsifying documents, theft, interfering with administration of justice, misusing public service, abuse of power, lying in court, bribery, embezzlement and forgery. Twenty-six were issued arrest warrants. On Friday, Attorney General Marisela Morales also fired 140 police officers [CNN report] and released that 280 more under investigation within the organization. Of those fired, several were charged with having connections to organized crime, murder, robbery and extortion, while seven were fired due to convictions on kidnapping, murder and extortion charges, all stemming from Mexico’s rampant drug trade problem.
Mexico has struggled to combat the drug cartels’ influence on the government and the country as a whole. There have been more than 27,000 drug-related deaths since 2006 [STRATFOR report], and the violence has steadily escalated over the last few years. In April 2009, Mexico’s Senate passed a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] permitting the seizure of suspected drug traffickers’ property prior to their conviction. In 2008, a former assistant attorney general was arrested for receiving bribes, and Mexico’s prosecutor’s office admitted that it had been infiltrated [JURIST reports] by the drug cartels.