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Cablegate: Shakeups in the Local Law Enforcement Community

R 200028Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL TIJUANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7998
INFO AMEMBASSY MEXICO
ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL TIJUANA

179139
2008-11-20 00:28:00
08TIJUANA1153
Consulate Tijuana
UNCLASSIFIED
08MEXICO2669|08TIJUANA952
R 200028Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL TIJUANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7998
INFO AMEMBASSY MEXICO
ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL TIJUANA

TAGS: SNAR KCRM MX PGOV
UNCLAS TIJUANA 001153


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM MX PGOV
SUBJECT: SHAKEUPS IN THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY
REF: A) MEXICO 2669 B) TIJUANA 952

On November 10, twenty-one police officers in Tijuana (nineteen
municipal and two state police assigned to TJ), including at
least two commanders and Consulate Tijuana's liaison official,
were detained by military personnel in a federal operation
coordinated by the Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) and
sent to Mexico City for possible prosecution for suspected links
to organized crime. State and local authorities appeared
surprised, but not disappointed, by the detentions, with at
least one insisting this gave them an opportunity for a clean
start. Daniel de la Rosa, the State Secretary for Public
Security, compared these detentions with the dismissals this
year of about 100 police officers statewide as a result of the
state and municipal purging processes under the Acuerdo Nacional
de Seguridad Publica (National Public Security Agreement - ref
A). This is the first time in several years in Baja, however,
that federal authorities have detained local authorities for
links to organized crime.

On November 14, Alberto Capella, the Tijuana Municipal Secretary
of Public Security, told WHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Roberta
Jacobson, coincidentally on a visit to Tijuana, that, unlike in
previous purges, none of these twenty-one officers will be
reinstated, even if federal authorities decide not to press
charges. Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos has publicly insisted these
officers will not be restored to their positions, whether or not
there is proof of their illicit activities. This is
significant because at least one of those detained, Post's
liaison officer, is a close friend of the Mayor's. One of the
Mayor's assistants told Post that new legislation makes it
easier for the government to sack police officials. (NOTE: Post
believes this official was referring to changes made at the
federal level in 2008 to Article 123, art B XIII of the
Constitution which, in theory, will allow the government to
dismiss pslice officers without the possibility of
reinstatement, allowing only the possibilty of financial
compensation if a judge finds that a policeman was dismissed
without cause. END NOTE). Still, many doubt whether local
authorities will be able to keep the police officials out of
their jobs once the officers begin legal processes and obtain
"amparos" (injunctions) against their dismissals, as the
constitutional changes are untested in Baja. One prominent
lawyer told DAS Jacobson and poloff that the way the detentions
and dismissals were handled - by military officials and without
solid proof - calls into question the rule of law and order just
at the time that Mexico is trying to improve its judicial
system.

Whatever the fate of the twenty-one officers, the detentions
appear to be spurring other shakeups in the local law
enforcement community. Tijuana's police chief is rumored to be
leaving for a state-level job, and Rosarito's current chief is
supposedly heading to Tijuana. Some say Capella, who had no
law enforcement background before being appointed to his
position and does not command the respect of his subordinates,
has submitted his resignation, though he gave no indication of
this in his November 14 meeting with Post.

COMMENT: The latest purges may show the federal government's
resolve to rid local police forces of corruption, and local
politicians either support the federal efforts or have no choice
but to appear to be supportive, but while Baja California
continues to be territory disputed by the remnants of the
Arellano Felix Organization drug cartel and the Sinaloa cartel,
violence is likely to continue in the area.

KRAMER

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