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Ex-government official Daniel Mendoza in a restricted area of Nevado de Toluca. Ex-government official Daniel Mendoza in a restricted area of Nevado de Toluca.

Security official fired for defying ban on accessing protected area

He posted videos of himself and friends partying at Nevado de Toluca on social media

A functionary of the México state police force has paid the seemingly obvious price for posting an illegal act on social media: he was duly dismissed.

Security official Daniel Mendoza López and at least 10 other people drove up to the lagoon area within the volcanic crater of Nevado de Toluca in several vehicles. Although access by car or truck is not allowed there, Mendoza later posted pictures and a video of himself and others partying with music and alcoholic drinks in front of the vehicles.

His Instagram account with the username @danielmendok is now inactive, but in one photo made public, he can be seen smoking a cigarette in front of a Hummer and several ATVs.

The video reportedly showed cans of beer inside the vehicles, and he and the others were seen drinking, conversing and taking photos.

Entrance to this area of the park by motor vehicles has been prohibited by the México State Natural Parks and Fauna Commission since 2008.

Mendoza’s firing was ordered by Security Secretary Maribel Cervantes, who also requested an investigation into the former public official’s conduct while in the position.

“In the [México state] Secretariat of Security public officials are not permitted, and will not be permitted under any circumstances, to misuse or reap personal benefits from their posts. This is in accord with the policy of zero tolerance for corruption and acts of impunity,” Cervantes said.

Apparently the park incident was not the first case of such misuse. According to complaints from social media users on the secretariat’s Facebook page, Mendoza had been charging police officers 500-peso (US $27) fines for arriving late to work.

He has also been accused of charging officers 700 pesos for permission to skip out on work and forcing officers to buy tickets for raffles for bottles of liquor and other items.

Sources: Eje Central (sp), AM (sp)

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