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Police Officer Who Led Extortion Ring at the Tuesday Market Imprisoned

Oficiales

Oficial frente a palzita

By Jesús Aguado

Ministerio Público officers have broken up a protection-racket extortion ring centered on the large “Tuesday Market” tianguis near the Luciérnaga Mall, arresting two men, one of them a Celaya police officer.

Officers running the July 9 sting operation caught the perpetrators in the act of charging vendors for derecho de piso (“right of land use”) and confiscated several envelopes with allegedly extorted money.

The two men whom Ministerio officers arrested at the scene, identified only as “Daniel” and “Jesús “N,” petitioned through their lawyers for an extension of the amount of time normally allowed an accused person to offer compelling evidence of his innocence. If successful in offering such evidence, they might have been allowed to be released on their own recognizance while they awaited trial. However, both men exhausted even the granted extension of time and thus were denied release. They will face trial while in prison.

The rampant extortion going on at the open-air market was not a secret in town, with even residents making passing reference to it on social media. The Ministerio Público has on file a criminal complaint about the extortion and invites other extortion victims to file a complaint at the Ministerio’s offices, located in the blue building at Paseo de los Conspiradores.

Tuesday Market “armored”

Aside from the extortion, the market has long been plagued by incidents of breaking and entering into vehicles, auto theft, and pickpocketing, as well as thefts of vendors. In order to curb such activity, for the first time in the market’s history, the Secretariat of Public Safety dispatched 30 police officers on Tuesday, July 16, from 8am to 5pm on patrol, looking for criminal activity. According to a Ministerio press release, officers inspected 74 people and 76 vehicles and interviewed 109 people—vendors among them, who did not report any suspicious behavior. However, four people were arrested and brought before the Ministerio for minor crimes.

Officials said that from now on this sort of operation would be repeated at the market every so often.

 

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