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Attorney General Report Reveals Web of Troubles

March 3, 1993

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A report by Attorney General Jorge Carpizo details extensive official corruption and disorganization in one of the most damning portrayals any Mexican official has ever given of his own office.

Carpizo’s report, carried by most Mexico City newspapers Wednesday, comes amid growing complaints about corruption and brutality that have made some police agencies akin to state-sponsored criminal gangs.

The attorney general’s office operates the Federal Judicial Police and federal prosecutors’ offices. Both agencies focus on drug smuggling. Mexico is the main corridor for narcotics entering the United States.

Carpizo said his department has a backlog of 86,241 unresolved cases and no complete record of its own employees, its own property and property seized from drug smugglers.

Its agents are badly trained and so ill-supplied they are sometimes sent on missions without money for food or lodging, the report said. Carpizo said records of investigations are missing and criminals have been tipped off about raids.

Carpizo, a former rector of the National Autonomous University, was named attorney general in January after serving as first head of the National Human Rights Commission created by President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

The attorney general’s office was the department most criticized by the commission, including allegations of routine torture and flagrant corruption.

In February, Carpizo named a prominent human rights activist, Teresa Jardi, as chief of the Chihuahua district and announced the prosecution of a former No. 3 man in the agency, who had amassed millions of dollars worth of property on a policeman’s pay.

″It seems to me this is a great advance,″ said Rocio Culebro, director of the independent Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights.

Carpizo complained that without good personnel records, some agents show up only to be paid. He said the loss of documents was due ″as much to disorganization as to corruption.″

The agency said it has roughly 2,500 police officers, who earn an average of about $650 a month. Almost 250 officers and prosecutors have been fired for corruption over the past two years.

Carpizo’s revelations follow a scandal over Mexico City’s police force. Officers last month held a protest accusing senior officials of demanding bribes for assigning them to patrol cars or street corners where opportunities for bribes are lucrative.

Like many officers in Mexico, those in the capital have to buy their own uniforms and weapons and even to pay for repairs to patrol cars. Officials charged them more than $2 for a quart of milk at the capital police commissary.

The payments often surpass their salary, forcing police into demanding bribes from citizens.

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