Mexican state’s drop in crime seemed too good to be true – because it was

4/5/2017 The Guardian

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Stringer/Reuters

Even as swathes of western Mexico descended into drug-fueled violence, the rugged sierra and pristine beaches of Mexico’s Nayarit state appeared insulated from the bloodshed.

While murder rates rose precipitously in the rest of the country, crime figures showed a miraculous drop in the state – an achievement lauded by president Enrique Peña Nieto when he visited the state in February and praised “a more than 50% reduction in the level of insecurity”.

Much of that success was attributed to state prosecutor Edgar Veytía, who was lauded by a prominent anti-kidnap group and lionized his own ballad as a “hero” and “brave man” who “fearlessly applies the law”. It seemed too good to be true – and it was.

Veytía was arrested on drug trafficking charges last week as he crossed the border to the San Diego area, where his family resided and he visited every two weeks. Analysts say that the arrest arouses suspicions that rather than fending off the worst of Mexico’s narco violence through luck or prudent public policy, the state instead achieved the illusory peace of a pax mafiosa.

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