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Mexico Attorney General to Investigate 700 State Employees

MEXICO / 22 JUL 2011 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Mexico's Attorney General's Office will investigate up to 700 state employees suspected of corruption, said an investigator handling the case.

According to Proceso, the charges include robbery, fraud and accepting bribes. Since Attorney General Marisa Morales assumed office on April 1, Mexico's Justice Department -- known by the initials PGR -- has opened 137 investigations against 179 state employees, spokesman Cesar Alejandro Chavez Florez said. This is a dramatic increase from the same time period last year, when the PGR was handling just 33 prosecutions, he added.

This appears to be part of the PGR's efforts to show that it is newly focused on moving cases from arrests towards trials and convictions. A report released by the PGR earlier this year said that only 22 percent of all federal arrests last year were successfully brought to trial.

Some analysts have said that the PGR has suffered as President Felipe Calderon focused on stregthening the federal police agency, which has assumed a key role in the fight against organized crime. As the new attorney general, Morales is under pressure to show that the PGR can get results. But the agency's most high-profile case so far, involving the former mayor of Tijuana, fell apart in a matter of days, due to lack of evidence.

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