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Law officers are arrested in Tijuana

By Anna Cearley
October 15, 2005

TIJUANA – Mexican authorities arrested five law enforcement officers and another man Thursday night after finding them with assault rifles, hundreds of cartridges and 25 cell phones.

Because the group is suspected of organized crime activities, they were expected to be flown to Mexico City to face charges there. The group – which included two city police officers and three state agents – was being held under heavy guard at the federal attorney general's Tijuana office yesterday.

There has been much speculation here about the existence of a group of wayward police officers involved in drug-related killings.

However, local authorities weren't commenting yesterday on whether the officers may have been involved in a string of recent shootings of law enforcement officers or of other specific homicides.

The only public statement came from the State Attorney General's Office, which released a news bulletin hailing the "capture of an armed commando."

The arrests followed an anonymous call reporting three suspicious cars in the San Antonio de los Buenos district.

"The suspects were found in front of the cars, drinking alcoholic beverages, and identifying themselves as police agents but not showing any identification. . . . Due to their extreme nervousness, a search was conducted," according to the news release.

Authorities found a stash of suspicious supplies: Five presumably fake federal police credentials, nine radio transmitters, two assault rifles and two pistols that the men didn't appear to have permission to carry. They also had about 500 bullets, the cell phones and cartridge clips.

One of the three vehicles, a new blue Ford F-150 pickup, had been stolen in the United States about a week ago, according to the news release.

The suspects were identified as: City police officers Abraham Francisco Salazar Arambula, 33, and Luis Arturo Cosme Espinoza, 29; state agents Gilberto Méndez Moncada, 42, Eduardo Chagoya Carrillo, 32, and Carlos Cosme Espinoza, 29; and Francisco Noriega Alarcón, 29, identified as a carpenter.