HomeNewsCorrupt Police Play Both Sides in Guanajuato, Mexico

Corrupt Police Play Both Sides in Guanajuato, Mexico


An investigation in Guanajuato, Mexico, has rooted out around 150 police officers with suspected cartel ties, potentially exacerbating a gang war that has made the state the most violent in the country.

In recent months, an undercover unit of around 30 former federal officers was embedded in the police force of Celaya, a city that has been the hotspot of much of the violence, according to an investigation by Mexican newspaper, Milenio, citing police sources. By late August, 150 municipal officers had been fired in Celaya for alleged ties to cartels. This is a continuation of a campaign which has seen officers similarly dismissed in nearby cities.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform in Latin America

They were accused of collaborating with the state’s two largest criminal groups, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación - CJNG) and their rivals, the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL). The two organizations have been at war for years, sending homicides skyrocketing in Guanajuato.

The officers were “collaborating with criminal groups by providing them with information, helping them escape, thwarting operations against them, and even forming part of the security of the cartels fighting for the territory,” members of the undercover group told Milenio.

InSight Crime Analysis

Police corruption has a long history in Mexico. But the extent of criminal infiltration inside the Celaya police force may be down to a mixture of both fear and greed.   

“We had no units, they would steal a vehicle practically in front of us. And if we wanted to run them off or try to catch them, they would go after our unit. The police were practically a joke,” one police officer lamented to Milenio.

SEE ALSO: Mexico’s Oil Thieves Have Moved Into Extortion in Guanajuato

There is strong incentive for police to collaborate with criminal groups or to look the other way. In 2021, 53 officers were killed in Guanajuato, the most of any Mexican state. It has maintained this rank since 2018.

Officers have been shot dead in their homes, chased through the streets by assailants on motorcycles, and their personal information has been published openly on government platforms.

There have been some efforts to improve the situation of police. In 2021, their salaries in Celaya increased by 3.5 percent, reaching an average of just over 17,000 Mexican pesos ($850). While this is higher than the average police salary in Mexico, it has clearly not been enough to make up for assassinations, death threats, and a continuous lack of resources. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content

HAITI / 26 MAR 2021

Officials in Haiti are calling on authorities to break up a group of disaffected, violent police officers that has in…


Violence in the town of Jerez, in Mexico's central state of Zacatecas, has surged in 2021, as criminal groups fight…

HAITI / 8 MAR 2021

A gang leader killed after a deadly Haiti prison break may have been sprung intentionally -- raising further concerns about…

About InSight Crime


Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.


InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.


Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …


InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…


Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…