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Mexican general makes explosive accusations

In an extraordinary public airing of alleged police corruption, a Mexican general has identified several law enforcement officers whose criminal activities include kidnapping, drug smuggling and operating protection rackets.

Corruption accusations are nothing new in Mexico, but Gen. Sergio Aponte Polito offered details of specific cases and named more than one dozen officers, some of them high-ranking officials.

Aponte, who heads the anti-drug offensive in Baja California, made the revelations in a letter published Wednesday in the Tijuana newspaper Frontera.

The accusations, which cover two pages in the paper, touched off a firestorm of controversy. Legislators demanded the firing of every named officer, a business leader called for the resignation of the state attorney general, and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos appealed for calm.

Among Aponte's charges: Baja California's anti-kidnapping squad is actually a kidnapping team working in league with organized crime; police double as bodyguards for drug cartel leaders; and former federal agents have coordinated the landing of airplane drug shipments outside Mexicali.

The general lists several recent incidents, including some high-profile kidnapping cases and the attempted murder in December of Rosarito Beach's new police chief. Aponte says the attempt was carried out by an assassination squad of more than one dozen officers from Rosarito Beach and Tijuana.

Aponte said corruption existed in every major Baja California city and extended from municipal departments to federal agencies. There were many more corruption examples, Aponte wrote, but he couldn't fit them all in the newspaper.

"What a shame for the society of Baja California," Aponte wrote.

-- Richard Marosi in San Diego

Comments () | Archives (6)

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Irene Donnell, Interesting comment on the LA Times being "slanted and unbalanced". I just google searched your name and it turns out you sell real estate in Mexico. What's next, calling the kettle black? Probably the only thing worse than the violence going on down there (double the amount of killings from last year and primarily focused on the boarder regions) is the vast amounts of gringos being taken in to buy mexican real estate. Nice work, you're a gem!

So there are more deaths than in Iraq this year and hardly makes the national news.... The drug dealers are the terrorist of Mexico. Beheadings, drive by shootings, grenades into civilian crowds, turncoat police officers and government officials, shooting of journalists, kidnappings, insurgents blending into the civilian populations. Except for suicide bombers this is exactly what everybody was protesting about for the last four years in Iraq. What am I missing when this is so low key for the national media?

Slanted and unbalanced? Hummm, this has been a part of the Mexican culture for generations! They can't police themselves, there is so much graft and corruption in their whole is what makes their world go round. Remember, the Times just ran a recent article on the cost of everyday bribes that the average Mexican citizen pays. Get real! They are bringing it the loads, everyday!

the war on drugs and the black market it is responsible for do far more damage than the drugs themselves. Start by legalizing and taxing cannabis, which is far less dangerous to life and limb than alcohol, and allowing doctors to write prescriptions for hard drug addicts.

Thank you LA TIMES for stating what is fact. Baja california Mexico is dangerous.

Leave it to the LA Times to make the vast majority of Baja, which is unscathed by this type of crime (just like the US) sound like it is unsafe. How about issuing warning for LA which is more dangerous. Your trademark junk journalism...slanted and unbalanced.


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson