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Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012

Head of Tijuana police district, 3 other police fired for alleged extortion

In separate case, 2 men who identified selves as federal police arrested for extortion

Mayor previously told Japanese Maquiladora Association that city is a reliable partner for business because police purges, citizen participation against crime and intelligence work have reduced high-impact crime

Policeman José Alberto Hernández has been fired as the head of the San Antonio de los Buenos district along with three others for alleged extortion, Frontera reported.
Tijuana Police Chief Alberto Capella said a businessman said the police entered his home, accusing him of a crime, and took U.S. $8,000 and 73,000 pesos ($5,700). The businessman then was taken to the district police headquarters and threatened and then taken to the federal Attorney General's Office under suspicious of illegal possession of weapons. It turned out the weapons the businessman had were registered. The money was not recovered, Frontera said.

Capella said the police arrived at the home after receiving a report that someone had been wounded with a shotgun, but then engaged in inappropriate actions. He encouraged people who are having trouble with police or criminals to call him at 688-5500, Frontera said.

In a separate case, two men who identified themselves as federal police were arrested after allegedly trying to extort $5,000 on false pretenses. The two men also were accused of earlier trying to extort $20,000 from a woman.
Update, Sept. 19: The federal policemen may be released because the women alleging the extortion did not identify them as those responsible, a federal Attorney General's Office official says. Story, Frontera (PDF).

On Saturday, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante told the Japanese Maquiladora Association community that Tijuana is a reliable place for foreign investment, saying a purge of bad elements from the police force, tips from the public and intelligence work have greatly reduced high-impact violence in the city.

carlos bustamante charles shapiro jerry sanders tijuana On Thursday, a meeting between Bustamante and Mayor Jerry Sanders in Tijuana billed as a "Binational Dialogue With the Institute of the Americas" was notable in that it did not focus on crime, despite the presence of police chief Capella. It dealt more with infrastructure issues, particularly related to border crossings, with Bustamante saying he won't OK a cross-border walkway from the U.S. to the Tijuana airport until the concessionaire operating the Tijuana airport starts paying its taxes.

An earlier meeting between the two mayors held at the institute at the University of California San Diego in May had a strong crime focus.

After Thursday's meeting, Capella did discuss Frontera newspaper's report of nine violent deaths that had been recorded in Tijuana the previous week. Most weeks have seen zero to four deaths.

Stories on the alleged police extortions, Frontera (PDF).
Story on Bustamante's Saturday appearance before the Japanese Maquiladora Association, Frontera (PDF).
Police Chief Capella discusses Frontera report of nine violent deaths during previous week in Tijuana.
U-T San Diego story on last week's Bustamante-Sanders meeting.
MexicoPerspective story on May meeting at Institute of the Americas between Bustamante and Sanders.