The longtime practice of offering Tijuana cops a little cash to buy your way out of a legal jam could now land you in jail.
In a March 2 press release, the city's Department of Public Safety reported a record-breaking 57 arrests for attempted bribery in February — an average of around two such arrests per day.
According to police, there were 49 bribery arrests in January, bringing the total so far this year to 106. If the trend continues, officers will easily surpass such detentions made in 2012, when there were 191 arrests. In the first few days of March, there have already been 7 bribery arrests. All the cases have been turned over to the district attorney for prosecution, the Department of Public Safety reported.
Among the January and February cases, according to the news release, the bribes offered ranged from 2000 pesos (about $163) to release a group of drug dealers in the Mariano Matamoros area, to 100 pesos (about $8) to ignore a traffic infraction in the Empleados Federales neighborhood.
One man, caught in possession of illegal drugs in the Tres de Octubre neighborhood, offered officers 300 pesos (about $24) to cut him loose, while a woman who did not want to go before a municipal judge over a traffic violation offered cops 200 pesos (about $16), according to police.
The bribery crackdown is part of a campaign launched by Tijuana mayor Carlos Bustamante, who has pledged to clean up the long-sullied reputation of the city's police force.
In a February 14 ceremony, the secretary of public safety presented special awards to officers who had refused to take bribes.