More firepower to confront criminals

Baja California official says police need better equipment

Tijuana .- In the middle of a series of killings, including of police officers, the state announced Tuesday that it had invested a little more than half a million dollars in weapons and ammunition to better equip state and municipal police departments.

The state's Secretary of Public Safety, Daniel de la Rosa, turned over more than a million cartridges and 180 rifles to local police officers on Tuesday in Tijuana.

"The police officers of Baja California are the ones confronting the criminals face to face … That is why it's important to continue to give them these fundamental arms to fight and to weaken organized criminals," said De la Rosa.

On Friday, two state agents, who worked undercover investigating vehicle theft, were ambushed by a criminal group that was traveling in two SUVs in the eastern neighborhood of Praderas del Sol.

Officer Tamayo López, 28, died while being treated, while his partner, Jorge Santiago Ramírez Suárez, 28, was gravely wounded.

The State Attorney General's Office has reported 127 killings from Jan.1 to March 20 in Tijuana, a total of 94 less than in a similar period last year.

According to De la Rosa, coordinated work among federal, state and municipal governments as well as the Mexican military has gradually put the brakes on organized crime groups operating in the state.

A total of 172 rifles were given to the Tijuana police department, seven to the state police agency and one to a licensing department.

In addition, 412,677 cartridges were distributed to the state police agency, 209,200 to the state's Public Safety Academy and the rest to municipal police departments.

De la Rosa said that the armaments cost about $582,000.


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