Colombia tackles corrupt police

Sunday, October 13, 2002

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's new national police chief promised to root out corrupt officers, expressing concern that an unfolding scandal could jeopardize U.S. anti-drug aid to the world's largest cocaine producer.

"There are bad apples in every barrel," Gen. Teodoro Campo said in an interview with The Associated Press late Friday.

The Colombian police, along with the army, are key players in the U.S.-backed endeavors to combat a leftist insurgency and wipe out drug production. Any scandal that erupts among the security forces here could have repercussions in Washington.

On Sept. 26, Colombia's Inspector General accused 71 police officers, including the former general in charge of counterdrug operations, of pocketing more than $2 million in U.S. aid.

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