Police officers in Tijuana

Allegations collected from detained drug traffickers and local authorities reveal widespread police corruption in Tijuana, investigative newspaper Zeta reports, adding to the list of troubling security developments in Mexico's northern border city.

Following their arrests in May 2015, brothers Manuel Rafael and Roberto Carlos Toscano Rodríguez alleged a state police chief told them "El Pablito," a supposed drug trafficker, was in charge and that the group "La Barredora" was tasked with doing his bidding, reported Tijuana-based newspaper Zeta. The brothers claimed La Barredora was comprised of members of the state and municipal police forces, according to Zeta.

On February 6 of this year, a threatening note signed by La Barredora was found next to the body of an unidentified youth. According to Zeta, since early 2015 these types of messages signed by La Barredora have appeared regularly in northern Tijuana, where a violent turf war has played out between rival criminal groups.

Local authorities also told Zeta that municipal officers from at least three police delegations have been found "giving courtesies and receiving money from criminals" on behalf of their superiors. 

In an interview with Zeta, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, governor of Baja California, said prosecutors are investigating the November 2015 murder of a municipal police officer who is suspected of being involved in a drug theft reportedly carried out by Tijuana security forces

InSight Crime Analysis

If these allegations are true, they indicate corruption is deeply embedded within the municipal and state police forces in Tijuana. Unfortunately, police corruption is only one part of a larger framework that points to steadily worsening security conditions in the northern border city. 

Although violence has gone down in many parts of northern Mexico in recent years, the opposite is true in Tijuana. In 2012 the city registered a murder rate of 28 per 100,000 residents, a lower rate than some US cities at the time. But Tijuana's homicide rate hovered in the low 30s for the next two years before climbing to 39 per 100,000 last year, even as other northern cities experienced huge security gains. Ciudad Juárez, for example, was the murder capital of the world in 2010, but did not even rank among the 50 most dangerous cities last year, according to one Mexican non-governmental organization.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Possible changes in Tijuana's criminal dynamics are further cause for concern. Tijuana's underworld is believed to be controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel, but the recent discovery of a narco-tunnel reportedly operated by the notoriously violent Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG) suggests a conflict could be brewing over the city's valuable trafficking routes into the United States.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

The FARC 1964-2002: From Ragged Rebellion to Military Machine

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against less than fifty guerrillas in the tiny community of Marquetalia. The aim of the operation was to stamp out once and for all the communist threat in...

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

The Infiltrators: Corruption in El Salvador's Police

Ricardo Mauricio Menesses Orellana liked horses, and the Pasaquina rodeo was a great opportunity to enjoy a party. He was joined at the event -- which was taking place in the heart of territory controlled by El Salvador's most powerful drug transport group, the Perrones -- by the...

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

MS-13's 'El Barney': A Trend or an Isolated Case?

In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). While this assertion seems unfounded, there is one case that illustrates just why the US government is worried about the future.

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

'Chepe Luna,' the Police and the Art of Escape

The United States -- which through its antinarcotics, judicial and police attaches was very familiar with the routes used for smuggling, and especially those used for people trafficking and understood that those traffickers are often one and the same -- greeted the new government of Elias Antonio...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

Criminalization of FARC Elements Inevitable

While there is no doubt that the FARC have only a tenuous control over some of their more remote fronts, there is no evidence of any overt dissident faction within the movement at the moment.

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

Ivan Rios Bloc: the FARC's Most Vulnerable Fighting Division

When considering the possibilities that the FARC may break apart, the Ivan Rios Bloc is a helpful case study because it is perhaps the weakest of the FARC's divisions in terms of command and control, and therefore runs the highest risk of fragmentation and criminalization.

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana

If we are to believe the Colombian government, the question is not if, but rather when, an end to 50 years of civil conflict will be reached. Yet the promise of President Juan Manuel Santos that peace can be achieved before the end of 2014 is simply...

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 Leader 'Viejo Lin' on El Salvador Gang Truce

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's gang truce. InSight Crime co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Mojica in Cojutepeque prison in October 2012 about how the maras view the controversial peace process, which has...