Federal, state police take control of several TJ neighborhoods

Local police called into stations, disarmed

11:37 a.m. November 18, 2008

David Maung
A Tijuana city police officer holding a cup of coffee walks out a door of the La Mesa city police station, which is being guarded by federal police.

David Maung
A Tijuana city police officer, center, walks into the La Mesa city police station, which is being guarded by federal police.

David Maung
Disarmed Tijuana city police officers wait outside the La Mesa police station, where they are stationed.
TIJUANA – About 500 federal police, state police and marines took over patrol of several city neighborhoods Tuesday from the municipal police officers who normally perform those duties.

The action occurred in central and eastern Tijuana, where high crime rates related to drug violence have been recorded in the last two months.

Municipal police are expected to undergo extensive background checks and training, Mayor Jorge Ramos said. The military and state and federal police are scheduled to be in place for a month.

The municipal officers were called in from patrol Tuesday morning. When they arrived at their stations, they were disarmed. Federal and state agents got into the municipal patrol pickups and headed out for the city streets.

About 9:30 a.m., municipal officers who had been disarmed stood around outside the La Mesa station waiting for instructions on what to do next.

Last week, federal officials detained high-ranking municipal police officers suspected of links to organized crime. More than 600 people have been killed in Tijuana this year, and many of the victims have had ties to drug cartels. Drug gangs are fighting one another for control of smuggling routes along the border, police and crime experts say.

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