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kmetzger


Jun 17, 2007, 5:21 PM

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Robbed by the Tonala police!

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This Sunday afternoon I decided to take my six dogs out for a stroll at a remote housing development project situated on the edge of the Barranca Huentitan in the Tonala district on the north east outskirts of Guadalajara. I put two of them in a large dog kennel and four of them up front with me.
As I was driving down a winding road leading to my destination I noticed a car driving off after having been stopped by police in a pick-up. They waved for me to stop, and I assumed they were stopping everyone on that road for some reason.
I was told to empty my pockets and place everything in the bed of my pick-up and asked to remove the cash from my wallet and place my hands on the vehicle so they could frisk me. One policeman asked me why I was carrying a pocket knife. Then he wanted to see my driver license and I gave him my Texas license. Then they wanted the vehicle registration documents.
The subject then moved to my dogs. Did I have papers showing I owned them? I told them I had them at home (the only thing I have is their shot records). One of them told me we would need to drive somewhere where I could phone my wife and tell her to meet us with the papers for the dogs.
I noticed that neither one was wearing a badge or name tag and asked them for an ID number. One of them pulled his side arm half way out of the holster and said what I understood (my Spanish is far from perfect) to mean that the weapon was all he needed.

It was hot outside (about 5 p.m.) and I was getting concerned about the dogs in the kennel. I could see they were in no hurry and that the only way to get out of the situation was to give them money. Unfortunately, all I had was 200 peso bills, so I gave them one of the bills and off they went.

I've lived in Guadalajara for over 8 years now and am used to paying mordidas for minor traffic infractions. I've always had the sense that I haven't been singled out because I'm an American. The mordida is an equal opportunity affair: you get stopped for violating traffic rules and nationality normally doesn't enter into it. But until today, the policeman stopping me has always pulled out a book and pointed to the rule I violated and the fine associated with it. These policemen today did no such thing. After looking in vain for something to book me on, they settled on requiring me to furnish proof of ownership of the dogs (as far as I know, there's no such thing in Mexico.)

I wrote down the license plate number of the Tonala police pick-up they were driving. Is there any hope for justice?

Kim - (a guy)



Rolly


Jun 17, 2007, 5:40 PM

Post #2 of 12 (9099 views)

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Re: [kmetzger] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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I guess my question is: Are you sure they were actually police?

Rolly Pirate


kmetzger


Jun 17, 2007, 5:55 PM

Post #3 of 12 (9094 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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Hi Rolly - well, they were wearing blue uniforms and driving a white Tonala police pick-up. Have you ever heard of fake police vehicles? I guess anything's possible.


Rolly


Jun 17, 2007, 6:08 PM

Post #4 of 12 (9082 views)

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Re: [kmetzger] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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Could be. A while back, here in Lerdo some banditos stopped a police pickup and took it away from four cops. Last I heard, they have not been caught.

Rolly Pirate


kmetzger


Jun 17, 2007, 6:10 PM

Post #5 of 12 (9080 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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But I had 1600 pesos in my wallet, and they were perfectly happy with 200. Doesn't sound like what out and out bandidos would do. They could have had it all.


jerezano

Jun 18, 2007, 6:11 AM

Post #6 of 12 (9024 views)

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Re: [kmetzger] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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Hello,

You were the victim of deliberate harassment. You asked earlier if there was any hope for justice. Yes, unless the entire police force of Tonalá is corrupt, which is not likely. Report the license plate number of the vehicle, description of the two policemen, the time and location of the incident to the very top official in charge of the Tonolá police department--probably one of the Regidores in city hall and tell him you need to remain anónomous because of retribution, and then hope.

Even in México, not the best of all possible worlds, this should work.

As for the Mordida itself, after having paid $600 pesos to a very polite and efficient Federale one day, I was advised by a Mexican friend never to offer more than $200 pesos as a mordida. He said that was the normal amount at least here in Zacatecas, and he should know.

Adiós. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Jun 18, 2007, 6:18 AM)


kmetzger


Jun 18, 2007, 6:17 AM

Post #7 of 12 (9020 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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Thanks for the advice, jerezano. Yes, that's what I should do. Trouble is, my Spanish isn't what it should be. I'd have to find someone to come with me. Not easy. But I'll give it a try.
For the record: I love Mexico dearly. I'm here for the duration. Shit happens.

Kim


ncferret

Jun 21, 2007, 7:08 AM

Post #8 of 12 (8861 views)

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Re: [kmetzger] Robbed by the Tonala police!

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This same type of thing has happened twice (that I know of) in the past 3 years here in Mazatlan. In both cases, reports were filed and the offending police officers were disciplined or fired - eventually. In one case, it was necessary for the US consulate to be involved and the implication was a state department warning for Mazatlan would be issued (very bad for tourism) if no actions were taken.

Mexico has enough problems without this type of negative publicity, so chances are that the top police officials will be willing to investigate the matter. If not, you might consider contacting the nearest consulate office.


Marlene


Jun 22, 2007, 3:09 PM

Post #9 of 12 (8808 views)

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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)


bournemouth

Jun 22, 2007, 3:32 PM

Post #10 of 12 (8798 views)

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

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I have to admire the courage of the restaurant owner in carrying the complaints as far as she did - let's hope it all works out and she does not suffer repercussions. The only way to stop this kind of thing is to complain but it's easier to say than it is to do.


pez222


Jun 27, 2007, 2:15 PM

Post #11 of 12 (8707 views)

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

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How should one handle a situation like the one in Maz? 1) Pay the creeps Or ...# 2) Hang tough and deny the accusations.
I think I'd cave in and pay. They have the power. But I'd be very tempted to try and get something done about it. Although I doubt if any good would come from the effort.
I've been to Maz twice and had a good time. If this would happen to me, I believe it would be my last trip SOB.


Marlene


Jun 27, 2007, 3:08 PM

Post #12 of 12 (8704 views)

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Re: [pez222] Robbed by the Tonala police! And Mazatlan police...

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A third option comes to mind and that's to tell them you would like to immediately speak to your local Consular agent. Either that or ask for a meeting with their shift commander at Heathers Place Restaurant :-)
Either of these requests should send them speeding off into the sunset. The Mayor of Mazatlan is not taking this type of thing lightly, and the tourist police are being aware of this. Disciplinary action was taken in the case I posted about.


(This post was edited by Marlene on Jun 27, 2007, 3:11 PM)
 
 
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