EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Fifty-four municipal police officers who served under a commander now jailed on charges of kidnapping and organized criminal activity are being investigated, Police Chief Cesar Omar Muñoz says.
The officers until a few days ago 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 they were also doing illegal things, like crimes. We don’t know that for sure, but there is a federal investigation involving serious crimes,” Muñoz told Border Report. “We cannot judge them, but inside (the municipal police), we are investigating every officer from that unit.”
Saenz came under investigation in June after being accused of torturing and robbing suspected criminals. Other allegations include demanding money from random individuals under the threat of arresting them on trumped-up drug charges.
Saenz bolted upon learning of the investigation, but he remained on the police department’s payroll under a medical leave. Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said he’s investigating who kept the him on the city’s payroll.
Saenz was arrested last week in a Central Juarez home by Mexican federal agents and members of Mexico’s National Guard.