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State police accused of extortion in Mazatlán. State police accused of corruption.

Mazatlán mayor accuses state police of extortion of locals, tourists

Their acts generate an environment of insecurity and distrust toward authorities, mayor warns

The mayor of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, has accused state police of extortion of local residents and tourists.

In a November 16 letter that municipal authorities made public on Sunday, Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres cites two cases of alleged extortion in the Pacific coast resort city.

In the first, a vehicle driven by a Mazatlán resident was stopped by state police who conducted an inspection of the vehicle “in an overbearing way and without any justification” before demanding an unspecified quantity of money from the driver, Benítez claimed.

In the second case, tourists from Durango traveling on motorcycles were stopped at 12:30am on November 16 on a road near the Galerías shopping center, the Morena party mayor said. The police then “practically snatched” 3,000 pesos (US $155) from the tourists, Benítez said.

The mayor provided the identification numbers of the two police cars in which the allegedly corrupt officers were traveling.

Benítez said municipal authorities had already notified the Sinaloa government about the “irregular conduct” of state police but claimed that no action had been taken.

“For that reason, in the most courteous and respectful way, I express to you my discontent with respect to the conduct of the officers deployed to this municipality,” he said in the letter to Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel.

“. . . Far from offering security and protection to the population, their acts generate an environment of insecurity and distrust . . . toward authorities.”

Benítez added that Mazatlán’s positive image as a tourist destination for both Mexicans and foreigners was damaged by the conduct of the police.

He said on Sunday that similar cases of police abuse have occurred in the municipalities of Rosario and Escuinapa although the mayor of the former municipality said he had no complaint about the conduct of state officers.

In response to the allegations, Sinaloa Public Security Secretary Cristóbal Castañeda Camarillo said he will speak to Benítez at a security meeting Tuesday and ask him to present proof to support his claims.

Source: Noroeste (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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