Friday, January 5, 2007
TIJUANA – The city's entire 2,300-member municipal police
force has been ordered to turn in its weapons, leaving doubt Thursday
about who would be patrolling this city of more than 1.5 million
The surprise directive from Mexico's Defense Secretariat comes
a day after President Felipe Calderon ordered Operation Tijuana,
a major offensive against organized crime in the city. More than
3,000 soldiers and federal agents are being sent to the city with
the aim of tackling the city's crime problems.
Federal officials were expected to conduct ballistics tests
on the weapons, apparently to see if they could link any of the
weapons to the many killings that have been attributed to drug
Dozens of police officers carrying a range of handguns and automatic
weapons lined up Thursday at department headquarters on Eighth
Street. The Mexican military, which maintains a registry of weapons,
routinely checks police weapons, and officers initially thought
this was a regular check.
Federal officials have repeatedly said corruption is widespread
in Tijuana's department, which is charged with responsible for
maintaining public order in the city.
Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, in a television interview, said that he
has ordered the police department to refrain from patrols.
“I can't send them to war without a weapon,” the
In the absence of the city officers, the mayor said federal forces
will be doing the job of the municipal department.