Three Argentina police officers arrested for their part in a cocaine trafficking ring linked to the Sinaloa Cartel were involved in a wide range of serious crimes, highlighting how corrupt law enforcement facilitates organized crime throughout the region and also has its own operations.
According to a report from La Nacion, federal police deputy Roberto Mora and sub-officials Natalia Cainzos and Andres Martinez participated in a range of crimes, including staging false raids to steal drug consignments that they subsequently re-sold, robbing houses and obtaining illegal weapons.
The three were part of organization that was recently arrested exporting 2,000 liters of liquid cocaine to Mexico. The three were reported to be involved in the trafficking of both drugs and precursor chemicals, and carrying out at least one house robbery with an alleged Colombian criminal.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina
Raids on properties related to the three officials saw Argentine authorities seize guns and ammunition, 267 grams of cocaine reportedly intended for sale, and almost $200,000 in different currencies.
In placing the three under preventative detention, a judge described Mora as the boss of the "sophisticated" organization. The other two were members of the group.
InSight Crime Analysis
Based on the reports into the group's activity, it appears that the three officers' involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel-funded cocaine ring was just one aspect of their criminal activities.
Whether it was already engaged in such crime before it became involved in the cocaine trafficking operation, or expanded its criminal portfolio subsequently as yet remains unclear.
Police corruption in Argentina is a significant problem, especially in key drug trafficking areas such as Rosario and Cordoba. The problem may well get worse as well-funded foreign criminal groups increase their interest in the country's drug trade.
Police throughout the region form the core of many criminal organizations. From Mexico to Colombia to Brazil, they engage in extortion, kidnapping, theft and resale, and a host of other criminal activities.