The Puebla state government assumed control of public security in Ciudad Serdán by constitutional decree yesterday and identified 15 fake police officers in the process.
In response to a wave of homicides, robberies and kidnappings in Chalchicomula de Sesma — of which Ciudad Serdán is the municipal seat — state police raided municipal police headquarters and arrested 36 of the municipal force’s 40 officers.
Among them was the force’s supposed supervisor, who had been fraudulently appointed to a role that shouldn’t have existed and for whom two arrest warrants had been issued.
The newspaper El Universal reported that “the false supervisor” had assumed the position after the mayor of Serdán signed off on his credentials.
Prior to the raid, several more unregistered police officers tendered their resignations and consequently avoided arrest.
Following the operation, state Public Security Secretary Jesús Morales Rodríguez told a press conference that the detained officers and chief were transferred to the state capital where they were subjected to confidence tests.
At least 15 of the officers didn’t have police identification numbers and had not been registered with the National Public Security System, he said.
The remaining officers were released after they passed the tests and it was determined that their documentation was in order.
The phony supervisor, identified as Ignacio Tobón, was handed over to the state Attorney General’s office as warrants for his arrest on charges of assault and abuse of authority had already been issued. In addition, Tobón had a 5.56-caliber rifle in his possession, a weapon that is not authorized for police use.
Chalchicomula de Sesma is the third Puebla municipality where state police have recently taken over responsibility for policing.
On May 2, state prosecutors and soldiers raided the offices of the San Martín Texmelucan municipal police, turning up more than 100 fake officers.
That operation took place after months of inaction on the part of authorities despite the mayor having written 60 letters in which he asked the state and federal governments for help in the face of rising levels of violent crime.
On Wednesday of this week, the state government also took control of the Amozoc municipal force.
That operation came less than a week after the force’s commander and commissioner were arrested in connection with the murder last Friday of six municipal police officers. Two state police commanders are now in charge of the force.
All three municipalities where the state government has intervened in law enforcement are located in parts of the state where criminal gangs are involved in petroleum theft from state-owned pipelines.