April 25, 2008

General strikes a blow against state corruption

By Mariana Martínez

At least 41 public security officials in Baja California have been accused of being involved with organized crime and responsible for docens of violent crimes, including killing of police chiefs, protecting criminals, tampering evidence and even freeing known drug dealers.

The names and titles where published in a public letter send to media outlets, signed by General Sergio Aponte Polito, in charge of military operations in the state, causing great unrest.

The letter is the formal response of the General, after the State Attorney General Rommel Moreño Manjarrez, was quoted as saying “If Polito wants to point [fingers], he should give evidence”.

The evidence came just a week later, in the form of a four page letter where Polito talks about at least 16 high impact crimes, including the attempt to murder the current Rosarito police chief and the release of the body of an Arellano Felix operator to someone who identified himself as part of the State Police forces.

The man had died a few days earlier in a helicopter crash during the off-road race, Baja 1000, and according to Polito’s sources, “a person who identified himself as Miguel Cortez Nuno, and said to be an inspector for the Federal Police, asked for the body of y Pablo González G. to be released. Months latter Federal Authorities found out that the body was in fact Merardo León Ginojosa (a) “El Abulón” [a prominant Arellano Felix cartel member]”.

In the letter talking about the incidents, there are agents from virtualy all police forces envolved; ministerial police, municipal police from Mexicali, Rosarito and Tijuana, as well as Federal Investigations Agents and members from the Federal Police.

Along with killings and confrontations, Polito talks about agents performing kidnapings, asking for a share of the profits of drug dealers, people smugglers and even bank robbers.

Polito even tells how cars that where stolen in US territory are “legalized” by corrupt officials signing documents that state legal ownership, despite there being a stolen-vehicle report in the United States.

Aponte Polito claims that much of the information he released was given to him by members of organized crime, recently detained by military personal, and by over 2 thousand citizen complaints.

Members of the business community throu out the state are asking for Rommel Moreño’s resignation, while governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, has stated that he will remain at his post.

About the agents whose names are mentioned by the General, Osuna said the issue is being investigated by Internal Affairs and that there have been no arrests or suspensions of any agent.

Meanwhile, the opinion pages at local newspapers and radio stations are filling up with citizen comments asking if that information was available, why aren’t any arrests being made?

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