MEXICO CITY - The arrest of Cancun's mayor on suspicion of protecting two violent drug gangs as he campaigned for governor has heightened fears that cartels are muscling their way into Mexican politics. There are also worries the gangs are tightening control over the country's most important tourist resort. Gregorio Sanchez faces drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges a year after his police chief and other close collaborators were arrested for allegedly protecting cartels, said Ricardo Najera, a spokesman for the federal Attorney General's Office. Sanchez is suspected of tipping off and protecting the Beltran Leyva and Zetas drug cartels - gangs known for brutal tactics including beheading rivals. He had taken a leave of absence as Cancun mayor to run for governor of Quintana Roo state, known for turquoise Caribbean waters and white-sand beaches marketed as the Mayan Riviera. The mayor is the first candidate in the July 4 elections formally linked to cartels, but fears have been rising that drug gangs are infiltrating the vote in several states through intimidation and bribes. On May 13, gunmen killed a mayoral candidate in a town near the border with Texas after he ignored warnings to quit the race. Several other candidates have received threats, and in some towns near the U.S. border, some parties couldn't find anyone to run for mayor. High-level corruption remains one of the biggest impediments in the fight against drug trafficking in Western Hemisphere countries that have become key smuggling corridors. In Jamaica, security forces are fighting supporters of a major drug-trafficking suspect who has ties to the ruling party and is resisting extradition to the U.S. In Guatemala, the national anti-drug czar and police chief are under arrest in a case involving cocaine and slain police. The Sanchez case will be another tough test for Mexico's judicial system and its ability to successfully prosecute high-profile drug and corruption cases. The last effort largely fizzled: A year ago Wednesday, 10 mayors from the western state of Michoacan were arrested in an unprecedented sweep against elected officials accused of protecting drug gangs. All but two have been released for lack of evidence. "Mexico is very much infiltrated by these gangs, and they reach very high levels," said Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue. "(President Felipe) Calderón has shown extraordinary bravery, but the question is whether he succeeds. ... Eventually, the government has to demonstrate that it can exercise authority." Border And this is a surprise?? This is the reason why Mexico and Calderon will NEVER beat the drug lords. They are deeply embedded in corruption and holding high office plus being the 'authority'. The war against crime in Mexico has been lost and now the inmates are in control of the asylum.