updated 3/16/2014 9:10:06 PM ET 2014-03-17T01:10:06

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's national security commissioner Manuel Mondragon has resigned, the interior minister said on Sunday, raising questions about the government's strategy to stamp out organized crime.

"I accepted the request by (Mondragon) to retire from the field," Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said on his Twitter account.

It was not immediately clear why Mondragon, who is well over 70, was stepping down. Osorio Chong did not give an explanation, saying only that he would make the official announcement on Tuesday and that Mondragon will now work on security strategy.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mondragon's departure leaves questions open about the security strategy of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is still battling to curb drug-related violence in Mexico.

Pena Nieto, who took office in December 2012, last month captured the country's most-wanted drug trafficker, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, and has made inroads against a powerful drug gang that has menaced the state of Michoacan in western Mexico.

But although the murder rate has fallen somewhat on his watch, it remains stubbornly high and kidnapping and extortion rates have worsened under Pena Nieto.

Mondragon had been in the role just over a year. It was not clear yet who would replace him.

More than 85,000 people have died since Pena Nieto's predecessor Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels at the end of 2006.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Dave Graham and Chris Reese)

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