Late last month, Tijuana hoteliers and restaurateurs were celebrating a respite from generally bleak economic circumstances when the Mexican National Olympics got under way in Baja California.
Authorities estimated that hotel occupancy would reach 90 percent in Tijuana during May — with more than 19,000 rooms booked for the Olympic events, some in blocks of 500 at a time. But it wasn't just legit businesses that were looking to make a buck from the estimated 70,000 fans pouring into Tijuana from as far away as Mexico City.
On May 14, police arrested two men selling a variety of bootleg items bearing the official logo "Olimpiada Nacional 2013" (National Olympics 2013) in the city's Cerro Colorado neighborhood. Police said they were originally summoned by a disturbing-the-peace complaint at the intersection of Insurgentes and Manuel J. Clouthier boulevards. On arrival, however, officers reported they found two men selling illegal Olympic memorabilia to passersby from the back of a white Ford pickup with questionable vehicle registration documents from California.
Among the items for sale, police said, were keychains, backpacks, T-shirts, baby bibs, and pens — all bearing the Olympics logo. Arrested were Víctor Mejía Mendoza, 34, and José Ángel Consuelo González, 35. Between the two of them, police said, the men had 45,655 pesos (about $3700) in earnings from their sales. Officers turned them over to federal authorities for prosecution, along with the money and the seized articles. The bootleg items were allegedly manufactured in a suburb of Mexico City.
The Mexican National Olympics began on April 25 and are scheduled to conclude on June 11. Authorities estimated that as many as 22,000 athletes will participate. In addition to Baja California, events are also being held in the Mexican states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, and Querétaro.