Mexico: top drug prosecutors step down in shake-up

José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, a prosecutor who oversaw Mexico’s extradition of drug traffickers, resigned Aug. 4—the second senior crime fighter to quit in a week. Santiago was Mexico’s top anti-drug prosecutor for two decades before taking his current position as sub-prosecutor for international affairs in the office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR). Noé Ramírez resigned late last week as chief of the Special Sub-Prosecutor for Investigating Organized Delinquency (SIEDO), as part of a law enforcement shake-up by President Felipe Calderón. A US State Department statement welcomed the reorganization as part of the Mérida Initiative. (AP, El Informador, Mexico, Aug. 5; Milenio, Mexico, Aug. 3)

On July 7, the Mexican Defense Secretariat announced that Gen. Sergio Aponte Polito, the outspoken commander of military forces in Baja California, is being transferred to Mexico City. In an unusual move, Gen. Aponte had publicized a phone number to field the public complaints on narco violence, and last week gave the news media a 20-page letter accusing Baja California state police commanders of corruption. (AP, San Diego Union-Tribune, Aug. 8)

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco war.