MEXICO CITY (AP) – First local police in Monterrey lost their assault rifles after an armed confrontation with federal agents while protesting the arrest of cops for alleged gang ties. Now officers in Mexico’s third-largest city will be stripped of cell phones.

The legislature in Nuevo Leon state, where Monterrey is located, unanimously approved a bill banning city and state police from carrying personal cell phones while on duty in an effort to prevent corrupt officers from communicating with drug gangs.

Lawmakers approved the measure late Tuesday, a day after municipal police in Monterrey pulled guns on masked federal agents during a standoff that sent motorists scrambling for cover – and underscored tensions over a crackdown on drug corruption among lawmen.

Earlier this month, federal forces raided police stations in 18 towns in Nuevo Leon, which borders Texas, and detained 78 officers suspected of working with drug smugglers. The operation came after soldiers found lists of police names in the possession of suspected drug traffickers in May.

State lawmaker Mirthala Castillo said the cell phone ban would take effect later this month. City police spokeswoman Sidlayin Robles said it was not clear how the ban would be enforced.

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