Posing as security officials, informal traders swindle those who, by mistake, end up on the border crossing Sentri Line, where 30 drivers who do not have the right to transit there on a daily basis end up in the Ministry of Municipal Public Security (SSPM), know extortions, but do not stop them.
Such is the case of Ricardo Saucedo, a citizen of Baja California Sur, who on Sunday, December 3, on indications of the geolocation system – known as GPS – of his cell phone, ended in the Sentri access despite not having the card that Prove it as user of it.
At that moment, some irregular merchants, pretending to be security guards of the Garita, who “even had a badge,” were told – dressed in cherry and with a badge – to keep going in the same lane to help him out. Ricardo finished – or they took it – to few meters of the module of access, already in American territory. The man and his wife were encased between retaining walls and cones to delimit the lanes that the irregular merchants themselves put. There was no way out.
The false guards offered to move the cones to allow him to pass the regular lane -Ready Lane-in exchange for the delivery of 8,500 pesos, and thus avoid payment of a US federal infraction that reaches up to 5,000 Dollars. The extortionists told him that the security cameras of the Garita had detected the fault and if he did not pay the amount requested, he would have to face the US law, risking losing the right of access to the neighboring country. Ricardo oriented his vehicle to the left so as not to interfere, went to a cashier, withdrew 6 thousand pesos and along with 1,500 pesos and 50 dollars of his wife paid the bribe; Then a cloth vendor moved the cone to make it easier for him.
In a survey conducted by ZETA at the world’s busiest border crossing, both motorists and the Municipal Public Security Secretariat (SSPM) agents indicated that this type of extortion is recorded daily, “at least two cases of That guy is reported every week, “said an official surnamed Arredondo, who chose to omit his full name for fear of reprisals. On the subject, Municipal Public Security Secretary Marco Antonio Sotomayor Amezcua confined himself to admitting: “We know that there are some situations even of complaints of harassment towards the people who are crossing the Line.
There is even some deception if someone is mistakenly entering the Sentri Line … there are people who ask them for money in exchange for getting them off that Line. ” For his part, Carlos Betancourt, head of International Liaison of the SSPM and in charge of supervising the surveillance of the Garita gave different figures to his officers in the area, according to him, are 10 people who are detained a day in the place, while That of the extortions said to know of only three so far of 2016.
No case has been turned over to the Public Ministry, under the official argument that those affected choose not to report. Every day, the Municipal Police of Tijuana removes between 20 and 25 irregular merchants from the vicinity of the Garita de San Ysidro, both for security reasons, and to avoid that type of extortion to those who are mistaken of rank, said the official.
For those who make that mistake for the first time, the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) does not issue any fines, in the case of recidivism the sanction ranges between 500 and 5 thousand dollars, which amount according to the exchange rate exceeds 90 thousand Mexican pesos.