Tijuana police have arrested one of their own for allegedly extorting money from a woman trying to make a living by selling churros on a well-traveled public sidewalk in the eastern part of the city, El Sol de Tijuana reports.
Churros are a popular snack in Tijuana, and virtually any visitor to the city has likely seen vendors on a street corner selling the warm confection made of extruded deep-fried dough and sprinkled with sugar. A small paper sack of six to eight churros typically costs around a buck.
According to the El Sol account, published May 8, an officer with the police department's commercial section told a woman selling churros without a city permit in the Villas del Sol neighborhood that she would have to pay him 400 pesos (about $33) if she wanted to stay in business. According to the woman, the officer had already extorted 1000 pesos (about $83) from her on prior occasions.
The woman had only 200 pesos at the time and told the officer she needed to go get the rest of the money in order to pay him, El Sol reported. But instead of getting the money, she contacted city code-enforcement officers and municipal police officers, who were waiting for the crooked cop when he returned to collect the bribe. Other street vendors also complained that they had been extorted by the same officer, the newspaper account said.
Authorities arrested Enríquez César Augusto Velázquez on charges of extortion. They said he had already been suspended from his post as an officer with the city's commercial police division, but did not say why, El Sol reported.