54 Juarez police officers under criminal investigation, chief says

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Entire municipal police intelligence unit under surveillance after their boss was arrested for kidnapping and organized crime

EL PASO, Texas (border report) – Fifty-four municipal police officers who served under a commander currently imprisoned for kidnapping and organized criminal activity are under investigation, police chief Cesar Omar Muñoz said.

Until a few days ago, the agents were part of an intelligence unit tasked with identifying homes, businesses and street corners where drugs were sold. Their former commander, Aldo Ivan Saenz Tocoli, and eight of his officers are now in federal custody.

“(He) had a large number of officers doing investigations. […] A few days ago, we found out that they also do illegal things, like crimes. We don’t know for sure, but there is a federal investigation into serious crimes,” Muñoz told Border Report. “We cannot judge them, but inside (the municipal police) we are investigating every officer in this unit.”

Saenz was investigated in June after being accused of torturing and robbing suspected criminals. Other allegations include asking random individuals for money under threat of arrest on bogus drug charges.

Saenz fled upon learning of the investigation, but remained on the police department’s payroll under sick leave. Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said he is investigating who kept him on the city payroll.

Saenz was arrested last week at a home in Central Juarez by Mexican federal agents and members of the Mexican National Guard.

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