Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Tijuana Chief Revisited

Monday, January 25, 2010 |


Tijuana, BC - A chief of police, especially the one in Tijuana, Baja California, must follow the policies of the agency. And in these policies it says that a commander has to implement active and passive measures every day to protect his life.

Passive measures are, among others; not going to bars, not walking alone on the streets, it means having a private life and it means very private, and constantly having to change his routine.

The active, however, include a good weapon to have on hand and with his bodyguards, ready to fire it 24 hours a day.

Lt. Col. Julián Leyzaola Pérez,, grandson of a general and son of another ranking soldier, is working toward a full compliance in a disciplined manner for each of these rules since he became Secretary of Public Security of Tijuana.

His day started on December 10, 2008 amidst a dispute of "blood and lead" between the Sinaloa cartel and the Arellano Felix clan to control drug trafficking in California, USA.

To his current group of bodyguards, one of several that he has had, since in previous occasions the cartel has corrupted with money others in his close circle, he said to them on his first day as chief: "I'm not type of classic administrator that needs to be removed from the fire zone in order to protect me away from danger. If they attack us, protect yourselves, because when you do that, you are in fact protecting us all. It is a lot easier for everyone to engage the first one you see that is firing, than it is to try to focus just on the ones who are trying to kill me. "

He concluded by assuring them: "I also know how to defend myself, I know how to shoot and I shoot well, I always shoot to the head. If I don't kill him, then I leave him brain dead 'loco'."


Goodness and badness

It is an ideal situation for police of Tijuana - and also for the ones from anywhere - they should be devoted solely to combating the common crime: to prevent a neighbor from playing loud music in the early morning hours or arrest those who steal wheels and stereos from vehicles.

But when Mayor Jorge Ramos, member of the political party PAN, and Leyzaola met to discuss how they would fight crime in the city, they concluded that common crime in Tijuana had been taken over by organized crime, so for now, the role of local police would be to attack organized crime.

"Why should I just tend to the needs of these petty miscreants (common criminals)? For them, I discipline them with "coscorrones" batting them in the head, but for the capos! No. With them I have to confront them, that is the big difference. I think the previous administrators did not understand that situation, or if they did understand it, they lived in denial," that is how Leyzaola explained his vision about police work.

When he spoke with the politicians he told them "I could be as good as you need me to be and as bad as it needs be." The chief of the Tijuana police must get along with most of the journalists who follow my activities as an official.

However, he does not care too much for the foreign press, although the national press and even the international media have had easy access to him. Leyzaola is heard saying: "I have an obligation to the local press, but with national and international, none. I'll give you the information when I have time. And if I don't have time, I will not be running when they call.


Human rights and the Pozolero

In October 20, 2009 some reporters claimed to have witnessed the moment that Leyzaola kicked the body of a sicario who had a confrontation with his police officers. According to this version, Leyzaola approached a car carrying the body of a man between 5th and 10th streets of the city, he stopped, looked in and then gave a kick to the body.

A city official flatly refutes the allegation as false and says that the rumor was spread by a group of narco traffickers. While another member of the administration thinks that it is possible that this incident did occur.

Of what it is absolutely true is that allegations of human rights violations during the period Leyzaola have even reached the American Commission on Human Rights.

The lieutenant colonel, who supports the legalization of the death penalty, says that the allegations are overly exaggerated, "even 'El Pozolero' complained about human rights violations."

"Please!"

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