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Tijuana police get guns back

January 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

TIJUANA — Police in this violent border city got their guns back Saturday, three weeks after they were forced to turn over weapons to federal authorities because of allegations that they were colluding with drug traffickers.

Tijuana Public Safety Secretary Luis Javier Algorri said soldiers returned all 2,130 guns to his department.

He planned to send a letter to the attorney general's office asking for the results of the investigation so he could clear up any doubts about his officers. No one from the attorney general's office was available for comment Saturday.

The officers handed in their guns Jan. 4 after President Felipe Calderon sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana to hunt down drug gangs.

The soldiers swept police stations and took officers' guns for inspection to see whether they had been used to protect smugglers who traffic drugs into the United States.

Tijuana police initially stopped going on patrol after their guns were taken, saying it was too dangerous, but most later returned to work, often accompanied by armed state police. One officer was seen holding a slingshot that he said was for his protection.

Dubbed Operation Tijuana, the initiative was part of a major military offensive launched by Calderon against drug gangs. More than 300 people were slain in Tijuana last year.

Meanwhile, six federal police officers involved in Calderon's anti-drug operation were being investigated on suspicion of extortion after they were videotaped by the Tijuana police department Jan. 17 taking money from a motorist.

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