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Mexico targets corrupt federal officers, fires 3,200

Mexico targets corrupt federal officers, fires 3,200

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MEXICO CITY • About 3,200 Mexican federal police officers, nearly a tenth of the force, have been fired under new rules designed to weed out crooked officers and modernize law enforcement, officials said Monday.

The housecleaning is part of President Felipe Calderón's crackdown on drug cartels, which includes overhauling the 34,500-strong federal police force.

An additional 465 federal officers have been charged with breaking the law, and 1,020 others face disciplinary actions after failing screening tests, officials said.

Among the 465 arrested officers were four commanders fired Aug. 7 in Ciudad Juarez after 250 subordinates publicly accused them of corruption.

'La Barbie' captured • Mexican police captured a Texas-born accused drug kingpin wanted by the United States and known for his unusual nickname — "La Barbie." Edgar Valdez Villarreal, 37, was captured in the state of Mexico adjacent to the capital, President Felipe Calderón confirmed.

Gunfight lasts 12 hours • A 12-hour battle between troops and gunmen killed seven people in the eastern town of Panuco. The battle started Sunday night when gunmen in six cars ignored orders to stop from soldiers at a checkpoint, police said. Soldiers, along with state and local police, started a chase that ended at two houses where the gunmen tried to hide, police said. The shootout at the houses lasted until Monday morning. One soldier and six gunmen were killed.

Mayor killed • Gunmen killed Marco Antonio Leal Garcia, the mayor of Hidalgo, a town near where 72 migrants were slain last week.

Celebration canceled • For the first time, the border city of Ciudad Juarez is canceling its traditional Sept. 15 celebration of Mexico's independence from Spain. Mayor Jose Reyes said authorities had not received any specific threat but decided it would be too dangerous for large crowds to gather in the city, which has become one of the world's most dangerous amid a turf war between cartels.

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