October 31, 2008

Commentary:

Streets Running with Blood

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

Rosarito Beach became world famous as the quiet Mexican Beach town south of Tijuana when Billionaire Ali Khan rendezvoused at the Rosarito Beach Hotel with the sexiest Hollywood actress of the day, Rita Hayworth.

Next came a Sunday night raid at the same hotel by Mexican federales busting an illegal Las Vegas-style casino operation owned by among others the infamous operators of the Caliente Race Track in Tijuana.

Over a hundred Americans were arrested and from that mass arrest came the Kingston Trio’s “Send My Bail to the Tijuana Jail” song that ruined tourism to Mexico for years.

Then came the discovery of Rosarito Beach and its myriad bars, condos and apartments by American college students at Spring Break.

With the legal drinking age of 18 and the small town, large beach and a police department that looks the other way most of the time, students from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Arizona and dry Utah flock to Rosarito every spring bringing millions of dollars with them to spend. And, how they spend.

Now, since September 26th six Rosarito police officers and 24 civilians have been killed “gangland” style at night, in the morning, in the afternoon and twice at teatime.

The slaughter is a spill over of the 140 men and women killed “gangland” style in metropolitan Tijuana during the same time.

The TransBorder Institute of the University of San Diego estimates that over 400 Mexican law enforcement officers have been killed throughout Mexico this year.

This war is a war of drug lords fighting each other for dominance in the drug corridor that leads to Greater Los Angeles, the biggest drug market in the U.S.A. Police officers are caught on all sides of this war.

Some police officers are corrupt and work for one drug lord or another. Some police officers are corrupt for the money, some from fear of being victims of the war. Some are innocent bystanders and some are serious about being police officers and fighting crime.

One ranking officer, for example, was hired in Rosarito after years on the Tijuana police department and as a shift supervisor at the state prison east of Tijuana. He was put in charge of a satellite police station south of Rosarito.

Negative intelligence surfaced about him so he was transferred to Rosarito proper. Shortly thereafter he was a demoted to patrol officer. He was killed the following day. Why, he probably couldn’t deliver any longer, thus he was expendable.

Rosarito has a police budget for 217 sworn officers. It currently has fewer than 170 officers and may have fewer than 150 working thus endangering public safety like never before.

Mexican soldiers, federal police and a fighting Baja California state administration have to flood Rosarito with men and materiel to isolate and kill each and every drug lord and their minions before they kill the beach town made famous by a romantic Ali Khan and Rita Hayworth so long ago.

Contreras operated tour companies to Tijuana and Rosarito for years

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