PROSECUTORS have arrested Arquimides Oseguera, the mayor of Lazaro Cardenas, a major container port on Mexico's west coast for questioning in connection with kidnapping and extortion.
The arrest has been described as the latest step in a government crackdown on organised crime in the western region, Reuters reports.
The mayor was detained as the government moved to register and disarm vigilante groups that have worked with authorities to restore order.
It is said Mayor Oseguera was also questioned about suspected ties to the local crime boss in the city. A drug gang called the Knights Templar, which ran many concerns including iron ore exports to China, controlled large parts of the Michoacan state.
Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico's biggest port by tonnage, has Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings Terminal as its major box handler and Maersk's APM Terminals is building its own US$900 million terminal there.
Seven years ago, there was much fear of LA-Long Beach port congestion and that Lazaro Cardenas would be the safety valve through which diverted cargo would flow via Kansas City Southern railway to the US Midwest.
But with the world economic downturn, and cargo diversions from the US west coast through Panama and Suez as well as California's high regulatory compliance costs, congestion never became problem.
Nonetheless, Lazaro Cardenas did well from trade serving the increasing affluent metropolitan area of Mexico City with its 21.1 million people.
Source : HKSG.