Mexico’s Operation Cleanup Has Been a Mess

Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2013

Operation Cleanup was a showcase effort to stamp out corruption within Mexico’s elite organized-crime bureau. Twenty-five top law-enforcement officials were arrested in the weeks after the operation was launched in 2008, most accused of acting as highly paid moles for a leading drug cartel, the very villains the officials were supposed to be chasing.

Today, the cases against them are a shambles, yet another example of Mexico’s systemic corruption and a weak judiciary unable to fix it. The operation is also the most high-profile prosecution among the many that fell apart under the government of President Felipe Calderon, which ended nearly five months ago.

This week, a federal judge freed the highest-ranking of those ensnared by Operation Cleanup. Noe Ramirez Mandujano, Mexico’s former anti-drug czar, was absolved and released from prison, where he had awaited this outcome for 4 1/2 years.

In a particularly scathing ruling issued Monday, Judge Mauricio Fernandez de la Mora said government prosecutors used sketchy testimony from unidentified “protected witnesses” who lied, made up evidence and were clearly coached.

One of the government’s “star” protected witnesses, code-named Jennifer, had testified that Ramirez received $450,000 from the once-powerful Beltran Leyva cartel in exchange for inside information, including the timing of raids and sensitive security details. Fernandez indicated that the story seems to have been fabricated.


Of the 25 officials arrested in 2008, only 13 were formally charged. Of those, eight have been released, including the most senior officials in the group. Four are in prison awaiting judicial rulings on their cases and a fifth was acquitted of charges related to Operation Cleanup.


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  • roger

    north of the border too

  • Sloppo

    If they stamp out the Mexican corruption, will there be any Mexicans or trace of Mexican culture left?

    • fakeemail

      A telling joke. Often NAMs are excused for their criminal behavior on the basis of it being part of their cherished “culture.” And you are a racist for calling it criminal. And voila; you’re the white oppressor and they’re the noble 3rd world victim who will teach you to truly be alive! Just like that.

  • So CAL Snowman

    I see Operation Cleanup follows Operation Sewage Disposal . . .

  • bigone4u

    Mesicans view big government favorably because they see it as an opportunity to steal and a place to hire their relatives. That’s true in south Texas as well as Mexico. That’s just one of multiple reasons for keeping Mesicans out of the USA. If we don’t we’ll all be caught up in the culture of corruption. Stealing and violence will be normalized and accepted. The evolution of our Euro/American ethical system will have been for naught as it will be eradicated. The Mesican view of life is Que Sera Sera (What will be, will be). Translated into English: Nobody gives a damn.

    • NYB

      That would suit the ruling elites just fine. They have no connection to Euro/white values.

      All they care about is being the biggest stakeholders in the economy. They wouldn’t care if the country became Mexico or India. Elites live well regardless.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    Mexico’s top exports – oil and Mexicans.

    The judge is on the narco’s payroll too, of course.

    Hell, the Narcos ARE the government there.

  • mobilebay

    Just as there will always be war, strife and unrest in the Middle East, there wlll always be crime and corruption in Mexico. Never being a country to take responsibility for anything, they love to blame it on us. Guess if we weren’t here, Canada would be the culprit.

  • DC corruption much worse

    Mexico corrution is peanuts. What about the 17 trillion corruption in Washington mainly in the White House with the 2 radical American white hating Chicago thugs who love the spotlight and live like royalty? What about the new Black Panther AG Holder? What about the corrupt liberal thugs in Congress trying with the WH to turn Americka into a 3rd world banana socialist republic and decrease the white race to a minority in their own nation?

    Obama still hasnt explained where that M.I.A. 6 trillion he over spent in his first term or whether he used the same Caribbean banks as Chazez and Castro to stash it it.

  • southtex

    Mexico isn’t corrupt because its poor, its poor because it is so corrupt

    • The__Bobster

      Memo From Middle America | Remind Amnesty Boosters That Mexico Has A Booming Economy And Fifteen Billionaires!
      By Allan Wall on April 16, 2013 at 9:45pm

      Instead of giving amnesty to these millions of illegal aliens, why don’t we just ask them all to go home?

      Amnesty boosters of both parties don’t even consider that possibility. If they were even asked about it, they would probably be shocked. After all, how could we send illegal aliens back to Mexico?

      Mexico is often presented both by its defenders and its detractors (for different reasons) as a poverty-stricken country.

      Well, Mexico is poor compared to the United States. But it’s not a poor country by world standards.

      Mexico has the world’s 11th-largest economy and it’s currently booming. One advantage Mexico has over us: its much lower public debt ratio.

      Mexico’s GDP per capita is $15,300, much lower than that of the U.S. ($49,800) but higher than that of China ($9,100).

      Mexico ranks a fairly respectable #61 on the UN’s Human Development Index , which is higher than most Latin American countries. (The U.S. is at #3).

  • Alexandra

    My church supports missionaries, and we get letters from them all the time. Last night at church my pastor noted that every single missionary in Mexico we hear from asks for prayers for their safety.
    I had Spanish in junior and senior high. I remember my high school Spanish teacher telling us that Mexican drivers actually aim for pedestrians. Then I’ve heard that drunk driving is no big deal to them.
    This is what we’re importing, people….

  • Michael_C_Scott

    Is it just me, or does using coached “witnesses” to provide perjured prosecution testimony in a corruption trial seem somewhat self-defeating?

  • Bobby

    How can a country that’s a mess, clean up a mess?