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Jun 22, 2007, 3:09 PM

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Re: [ncferret] Robbed by the Tonala police! And Mazatlan police...

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Unfortunately it happens more often these days than we like to think. It's just that people hesitate to go on the limb and report these matters. We had an up-close and personal look at this sleazy behavior only 2 nights ago. We went on file as witnesses to a tourist being shaken down by 2 tourist police on bicycles. The victim was a young American fellow on his own, a customer of the restaurant where my husband is a musician.

The young guy came in just as the evening was coming to a close at about 11 pm, ordered a drink but then remembered he had left his digital camera at the ATM machine up the street. Miraculously the camera was still there, but what happened to him after that was very disappointing. He was on his way back to the restaurant to finish his drink when he was shaken down by the bicycle duo on duty. They accused him of all sorts of dastardly deeds and frightened the heck out of him. Ironically they had just been by the restaurant for a couple of cokes (on the house). The restaurants co-operate with these guys and provide them with food and beverages in exchange for security of their premises after hours. You can imagine how furious the owner, a Canadian woman, was with them to find out they had shaken down her customer and scared him out of $1000.00 pesos.

We chatted about it a bit, because the young man was very shaken and visibly angry. He went home only to discover them on the corner where he lived asking him for some "cervesa" but we didn't know this yet. Further discussion at the restaurant and the owner decided to blow the whistle, go pick up the young man at his nearby apartment, and bring him back to tell his story. This is where it turned interesting. They sent the two guys that had pulled the shake down! She confronted them (she speaks Spanish) and demanded they return the money. The young one pulled the $500 peso note out of his pocket really fast and returned it, the senior one had already spent some of his so she insisted he make up the difference immediately. He rode off and came back in record speed with the balance of his $500.00 pesos.

At that point she didn't like the attitude of the senior cop so she called again and another policeman who could speak English showed up to speak to the young fellow, but it was obvious he also worked in the small police station in the area and was perhaps junior to the one bad cop. He did seem quite sincere in his questioning but there were just too many excuses offered and a lot of small talk so she called again and insisted a shift commander with higher rank come by. The shift commander came with about 10 heavily armed officers in pick up trucks in tow. The shift commander was a woman and she meant business.

I think they had been hoping this would go away on it's own because it took them a LONG time to get there and it was a quiet Wednesday night in the Golden Zone. It was quite a scene after that. She was still ripping a strip off these two tourist cops with at least 6 others still looking on when we left 2 hours later. We went home convinced that they would be removed from the tourist beat and sent to somewhere far less "lucrative". Hopefully it won't be our neighborhood!

(This post was edited by Marlene on Jun 22, 2007, 3:10 PM)

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