In a dramatic effort to root out rampant corruption within the police force in Mexico, authorities have disbanded the entire municipal police department in the eastern port city of Veracruz-Boca del Rio, according to reports.

As a result, more than 900 police officers will be fired. They will be replaced by members of the Mexican navy, with assistance of federal police officials,

The area has witnessed a surge in drug-related killings that was extraordinary even by Mexico’s bloody standards of violence. In September, almost three dozen dead bodies were discovered on a principal road in the city. The following month another 32 corpses were found.

The Veracruz region comprises about 600,000 people and is quite affluent. It also attracts a large number of tourists.

BBC reported that the murders are likely related to the vicious battle for control of the region’s drug-trading routes between the Zetas drug gang as the Gulf Cartel.

Local police are widely believed to have been corrupted by money offered by criminal gangs for protection. Federal police and military personnel have taken over law enforcement duties in other Mexican municipalities as well.

Javier Duarte, the governor of Veracruz state, defended the drastic action to media.

All those who belong to the now defunct Veracruz-Boca del Rio force can join the police again once they have passed the tests of trustworthiness demanded by the national system of public security, he said.

Since President Felipe Calderon waged war against the drug cartels in late 2006, more than 42,000 people have been killed, many of them innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.