Transparency & accountability

Nine Tecate police arrested for suspected links to organized crime

In Tecate, a border town in rural Baja California, federal authorities arrested a high-ranking police officer and placed nine others under temporary arrest to allow for time for additional investigations into their suspected link to criminal activities.

El Sol de Tijuana initially reported that the detentions were linked to an armed assault that occurred near a gasoline station in April against two federal police officers. More than 20 people were detained in connection with that attack, and they were suspected of working for Teodoro “El Teo” Eduardo Garcia Simentel, according to the paper. As noted in the previous section, Garcia Simentel is suspected of having broken from the Arellano Felix cartel and joined the Sinaloa drug cartel.

This month, during a military operation, Mexican authorities arrested ten Tecate officers including a Tecate commander, Adrian Cordero Gutierrez. Cordero Gutierrez has been arrested on suspicion of drug ties in relation to his alleged involvement in the April attack. The other officers are being investigated for their connection with a kidnapping group detained in May, according to El Universal.

On June 10, a federal judge determined the nine officers could be held under arraigo —without charges— for up to 40 days during the criminal investigation. The extra time gives authorities the opportunity to build a stronger case against the officers that could lead to formal charges. The officers were identified by Mexican media as: Vicente Soto Leyva, Rodrigo Escobar Galván, Alejandro Cáñez Ruiz, Víctor Meza Vergara, Rubén Mora Becerra, Carlos Armando Carrasco López, Aarón Reyes Herrera, César Antonio Chavira Uriarte y Jesús Isaís Reyes. Tecate’s director of public security, Erick Lara Cabrera, said he would cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation into his officers now, as well as in the future, so that the force can be cleared of corruption and any links to criminal groups.

From the June Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:

“Arraigan a nueve policies detenidos en Tecate.” El Sol de Tijuana. June 10, 2009. June 9, 2009.
Martinez, Julieta. “Juez ordena arraigo de 10 policias en Tecate.” El Universal.
Ramos, German. “Arraigan a 9 policias de Tecate por presuntos nexos con ‘narco’.” Frontera. June 10, 2009.

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