INTERPOL headquarters to deploy team to ensure compliance with INTERPOL rules and regulations by Mexican law enforcement officials

19 November 2008

During recent months Mexico’s Attorney General's office has requested a series of arrests be made as part of Operation ‘Limpieza’, its ongoing investigation into information leaks by law enforcement to drug cartels.

The INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France has learned that on Tuesday 18 November, the Mexican Attorney General issued a statement that Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas, the Director for International Police Affairs at Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency was subject to a ‘40-day provisional arrest’.

Mr Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas is also the head of Mexico’s INTERPOL office, or National Central Bureau (NCB), staffed and run by Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency and which ultimately comes under the authority of the Mexican Attorney General.

As the investigation of Mr Gutierrez Vargas is an internal and national matter being conducted by one of the offices of Mexico's Attorney General, INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters has no jurisdiction over this matter.

To date, INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters has not been contacted by Mexico's Attorney General’s office, nor has it been requested to provide any information in relation to its ongoing internal investigation.

Such a request may not have been made because since his appointment as Head of the INTERPOL NCB by Mexican authorities, Mr Gutierrez Vargas has remained at all times a Mexican national law enforcement official, employed and paid by Mexico and because the allegations against him may in no way be connected to his work with the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters.

INTERPOL can categorically state that it has never been given any reason to question the integrity of Mr Gutierrez Vargas. In addition to which, INTERPOL continues to believe that every individual should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, following a fair and just trial.

However, as Mexico’s Attorney General’s office has a duty to ensure that INTERPOL’s communications system and databases are being used for legitimate law enforcement purposes and in compliance with INTERPOL’s rules, INTERPOL is immediately dispatching a team of General Secretariat staff to Mexico. The purpose of their mission is to meet with relevant Mexican authorities in order to establish if there are any allegations of improper use of INTERPOL’s systems by any Mexican law enforcement official.

An assessment can then be made of the procedures put in place by the Attorney General’s office, which is responsible for the INTERPOL office in Mexico, to ensure that INTERPOL’s rules and regulations are being followed.

The actions taken by the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters are aimed at ensuring that the Organization’s Constitution and the interests of all its member countries are being protected through the lawful use of its systems and services.