03/22/11 – Earlier this month, the mayor of Ciudad Juárez, Héctor Murguía Lardizábal, designated a new Director of Public Security for the city. Julian Leyzaola Pérez, the former Tijuana police chief well- known for his stiff and unyielding approach that helped restore peace and tranquility in that city, will be replacing Laurencio Rodríguez Contreras for the position. Leyzaola will be forming a group called “Embrión” so that it can immediately attend to matters considered to be “high impact” in order to begin reducing crime rates. According to the federal government, last year 2,738 homicides related to organized crime were officially reported in Ciudad Juárez alone. Leyzaola has stated that he feels the situation in Juárez is similar to the one he found himself in during his time as police chief in Tijuana.
From December of 2008 to November of 2011, Leyzaola charged hundreds of Tijuana police officers with corruption while purging an even greater number. Many Mexican mayors and local police chiefs believe that it is the federal government’s job to lead the fight against organized crime, not the state and local governments, but Leyzaola broke this pattern by taking matters into his own hands. Although his adamant style proved effective, he was nonetheless criticized for allegedly abusing suspected crooked cops in the process. According to the Washington Post, when Leyzaola suspected officers were working with drug traffickers but could not prove it, he assigned them to stand “idly under palm trees outside police headquarters to humiliate them into leaving.” He also caught the press’ attention with his vulgar descriptions of crime bosses. “We call them fat and disgusting; paunchy, malformed, slimy cockroaches; scoundrels,” he said in September. “It had a very specific goal: to hit them directly in the social consciousness… We began ridiculing them.”
CNN México. “Juárez cambia al jefe de la policía; forma un cuerpo de seguridad de élite.” CNN México. 10 March, 2011.
El Universal. “Leyzaola va a Juárez tras limpiar Tijuana.” El Universal. 10 March, 2011.
Torres, Olivia. “Former Tijuana top cop takes on troubled Juarez.” The Washington Post. 10 March, 2011.
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