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Candidate alleges cartel contacting politicians

Sat., June 13, 2009

MEXICO CITY – A ruling party mayoral candidate in Mexico’s richest city told his supporters that drug traffickers have contacted all leading political contenders in the country seeking their loyalty ahead of elections next month.

Mauricio Fernandez’s discussion with a group of supporters in a suburb of Monterrey is a remarkably frank description of how the brutal gangs try to control political leaders, which is a key concern of President Felipe Calderon in his fight against drug cartels.

The candidate also acknowledged that the Beltran Levya cartel controls drug smuggling in his city of San Pedro Garza and suggested that as mayor he would avoid confronting the gang to maintain peace, comments that undermined Calderon’s drive to show that the government and his National Action Party, or PAN, are tough on organized crime.

Fernandez’s campaign was thrown into turmoil by his comments, but he stood by them.


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