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Tijuana's purging of bad cops necessary, but is it working?

April 2, 2009 | 10:41 am


News item: Mexican army this week arrests 23 municipal police officers in Tijuana on charges they were working on behalf of the drug cartels. The suspects will be detained 40 days while prosecutors investigate alleged ties to organized crime.

Reaction: Mexico's struggle to root out corrupt cops seems almost as futile as the United States' attempts to reduce demand for illegal drugs flowing through Mexico. But at least Mexico has finally acknowledged corruption as a major issue, one that has turned tourists away by the thousands in border towns such as Tijuana and Rosarito Beach. Police in these border cities, which used to be so popular among tourists, have received pay raises and are regularly screened. (If their bank accounts suddenly grow or they show up for work in a new new car, these are certain tip-offs.)

But the Tijuana cartel, like cartels in other parts of Mexico, seems to have little trouble persuading good cops to turn bad, so the cycle continues.

A sad commentary, isn't it?

Related: Mexico's war against the drug cartels

— Pete Thomas

Photo: Celebrants from a nearby quinceanera noisily pass through of La Libertad, one of Tijuana's oldest neighborhoods, in a convertible Cadillac. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times