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Mexican troops and Federales ordered to Veracruz

Mexican Federal Police are getting stretched thin

The administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon this week ordered troops and federal police to the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where 35 bound, seminude, tortured bodies were dumped on a busy street in full view of horrified drivers.

Federal security spokesman Alejandra Sota didn’t say how many troops and officers are being sent to reinforce operational and intelligence agents in Veracruz.

Sota said the local government has asked federal prosecutors to take over the investigation of last week’s massacre.

Authorities believe the victims were linked to the Zetas drug cartel. The gunmen are believed to be from the New Generation gang, associated with the competing Sinaloa cartel.  The area has been controlled by the violent Zetas until Sinaloa recently began jockeying for market share.

In some Veracruz cities banners appeared over the weekend accusing Mexican marines, who have played the lead role in the government’s war against cartels, of kidnapping residents and supporting the Sinaloa cartel.

On Wednesday, the navy said marines had arrested three people carrying similar banners in their vehicle near the Gulf coast port of Tuxpan in Veracruz. The three are believed to be connected to the Zetas, the navy said.

Federal police have been sent to several parts of Mexico to supplement local police, who are often bribed or intimidated by traffickers.

In the border town of Ciudad Juarez, where thousands of federal officers have been posted, the federal Attorney General’s Office announced that 10 former Federales had been arrested  to stand trial for extortion, abuse of authority and drug possession, among others crimes.

Prosecutors said they were detained earlier this month on a citizen complaint. The Feds were caught with a captive man in their vehicle, who told investigators the police had threatened to plant drugs on him and demanded money in return for releasing him.

Upon inspection, the officers’ patrol vehicles yielded a stash of heroin, marijuana and unlicensed guns, prosecutors said.