The municipal police force in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, has been disarmed and temporarily disbanded due to the suspected collusion of some of its officers with organized crime.
Federal Police, the army, the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) and the Jalisco state police jointly carried out an operation at 7:00am yesterday at the municipality’s main police station, located in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara.
Personnel from the state Attorney General’s office said the operation was connected to the discovery last week of eight bodies in an abandoned pickup truck in the Guadalajara neighborhood of Morelos.
The newspaper El Universal reported today that a list of names of municipal police officers who are allegedly on the payroll of a drug cartel was found among the possessions of one of the bodies. State authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the claim.
Jalisco Governor Aristóteles Sandoval, who last week warned of worsening insecurity in the state, announced the decision to disarm and suspend the Tlaquepaque police via social media.
“Doing this represents a forceful measure in the face of the insecurity the metropolis is suffering. We’re willing to act with full force until the last day [of this administration]. I know that I have the support of the people; we all want to live in peace . . .” he wrote.
Sandoval said that state police would take over policing duties in Tlaquepaque while municipal officers are at the police academy for training and reevaluation. State Attorney General Raúl Sánchez Jiménez later said that the intervention could last up to 30 days.
But in contrast with the government’s stated justification, the municipal government charged that the operation may be politically motivated.
Tlaquepaque Mayor María Elena Limón, who represents the Citizens’ Movement Party, was not informed about the operation prior to it taking place.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Limón said the local government had still not received any documentation about the state government’s actions nor had she heard from Governor Sandoval.
The mayor also said that if the state government doesn’t present evidence within three days to show that municipal police are infiltrated by organized crime, the real motive of the operation will become clear.
“If there are officers linked to organized crime we will be the first to take action to clean out our police but if, on the other hand, the investigation takes one or two weeks, I will understand that this action of the Jalisco government has political overtones and is seeking to influence the elections in July,” Limón said.
She also challenged the Jalisco governor and attorney general to carry out a clean-up not just of the Tlaquepaque police but of all the forces in Guadalajara and of staff in the state Attorney General’s office.