Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Julian Leyzaola, Tijuana's former top cop, now leaving state job

BY Sandra Dibble
Sign On San Diego

A retired Mexican military officer who drew widespread attention in his battle against drug trafficking groups and corruption in Tijuana’s police department has announced that he is leaving a top position in the Baja California government.

Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola Perez wrote in his resignation letter that personal matters were behind his decision to quit his post as Baja California’s deputy secretary for public safety. He had held the position since December.

“I find myself urgently needing to attend to matters unrelated to my work activities, which necessarily require my personal attention,” he said in a letter dated Friday.

Leyzaola drew widespread attention as he openly challenged drug trafficking groups in the city during his three years with the Tijuana department, the last two in the top job of public safety secretary.

Leyzaola was replaced by his deputy last December when Mayor Carlos Bustamante took office, and offered the state position by Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna. Tijuana media have reported that Leyzaola is taking a job across the Texas border in Ciudad Juarez, but there has been no confirmation.

Always outspoken, Leyzaola waged an unprecedented campaign against police corruption in the department, where many officers were known to work by organized crime. During his tenure, more than 600 officers were dropped from the force, and 43 lost their lives.

Leyzaola has been a controversial figure. Though revered by many for his willingness to take on organized crime, he also has been the subject of repeated complaints from human rights groups alleging that he beat and tortured suspects, including members of his own force.


  1. Somebody got a greencard.

  2. My guess is a job in Juarez or other hot spot.

    Rick S.

  3. Rick SD, looks like you called it.

    Leyzaola to SSP Cd Juarez (Spanish)

  4. Thank goodness, I hope he will be able to bring Ciudad Juarez under control, he did a good job in TJ. God bless him!

  5. wow. Thats a brave move. Last job in the world I would want, he'll be lucky to stay alive. Teo/Muletas came pretty close to execeuting a hit on the guy, and that's a little cell in Tijuana, in Juarez he'll have Juarez cartel and Gente Nueva after him.

  6. i like the fact that he will torture the crooked cops and the Zeta to get info on the bigger fish.

    gotta fight fire with bombs

  7. The world needs more Leyzoalas. I put him up there with Elliot Ness, General Petraeus and Giuliani's Mob busting days. I hope he can do the same for Juarez. This man is sacrificing evertything for his people and country.

    I frequently go to TJ and it has been much more stable since he cleaned house. Although there are still executions, they are more isolated into the shitty eastern TJ neighborhoods. The drug busts are huge and seem to be what happens when it's harder to move the drugs and they stockpile.

    Of course, most gringos up here in San Diego are still too scared to go to TJ but that will pass over time. In the meantime, Tijuana is re-inventing itself.

    This might be the best news in Juarez in a long time. I hope the culture of Juarez allows him to operate as he does best—even with a few rough interrogations.

  8. 'I frequently go to TJ and it has been much more stable since he cleaned house.'

    Wow! I'm so glad that you feel that much safer on Avenida Revolucion now. And all because of 'Elliot Ness', Anonymous? (You guys just give yourself and where you're actually coming from away so openly and easily to figure out! It's comical...)

    There it is! Another USA ICEd guy claiming that the Mexican military torture boss is just like Jesus!

  9. Ernest1 is a loser. Make that an angry, miserable loser. Get a life.

  10. Sometimes you gotta break eggs to make an omelet. Good luck cleaning up that mess Sir!


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