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— "Tijuana's a place where we started something, a movement that has spread all over Mexico. Now PAN has begun winning in the biggest cities in Mexico as an opposition party. So everyone from the PRI in Mexico City would love to see us lose in Tijuana. And [an issue like] corruption in the police or involving the drug lords would be something they would use to the limit. Because the PRI and their officials are so deep in their relationship with the drug leaders, they cannot [extricate] themselves from the old kind of corruption, such has grown up over 70 years."

As a PAN appointee, Sandoval believes only an opposition leader like PAN's Vicente Fox can move Mexico away from the corrupting influence of the cartels. "We need someone with no baggage. With the old kind of people out, they will be able to move freely [against the cartels]. I think [our police] will then get a lot of help from some agencies in the U.S. I don't think they trust the present government. Maybe that's why they don't talk too much to us.

"And as a Mexican I think we all feel ashamed that the United States has to give us a certification, a validation of our country. It offends us. We hope to have a government that doesn't depend on any certificate from any country."

The drug-testing and asset-listing are attempts at starting over. Especially after the accused assassins of Alfredo de la Torre told investigators the killers had been hired from within the municipal police force. Sandoval was there at the interrogation, days after De la Torre's killing. The seven accused weren't beaten into confession, he insists. "They confessed without coercion. The [state police] invited me to come. When I was there, I could see the [suspects] confessing everything. There were only three people in the room at one time. One secretary taking the confession onto a computer, and an attorney. So I felt confident that what they said was unforced."

They said it was an inside job. "And they were very professional. Even Juan de Dios Montenegro Tapia [a suspect still at large] did a lot of practicing at the [police] shooting range. The reason we didn't detect him before, the reason Alfredo trusted him, was that he was a very good police officer.

"That's why we are doing this, cleaning out the force," adds sindico procurador González. "It's commonly known that the Arellano brothers own Tijuana. But we don't want them to own us."

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