A decade into drug gang fight, Mexican army pushes to return to base

5/12/2017 Reuters

drug_war_02After more than a decade on the streets of Mexico battling ruthless drug cartels, the nation’s battered armed forces have thrown their weight behind a law that would force them to return to barracks and put the fight back in the hands of the police.

Since former President Felipe Calderon sent out the army to bring the gangs to heel at the end of 2006, about 150,000 people have died in the violence, including hundreds of soldiers as well as scores of police and members of other security forces.

The bloody struggle has also taken a heavy toll on the reputation of the armed forces, exposing one of Mexico’s most respected institutions to the corrupting influence of organized crime and the risk of extrajudicial killings.

General Alejandro Ramos Flores, head of the defense ministry’s legal department, told Reuters in an interview that a bill currently in congress known as the Law of Internal Security would oblige civilian authorities to retake control of fighting organized crime.

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