Former Police Chief accused of torturing officers is back in Tijuana as director of public safety

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Julián Leyzaola

Former Tijuana police Chief Julián Leyzaola Pérez, who was accused of torturing police officers and is said to have survived eight assassination attempts, is back.

Tijuana’s incoming mayor, Ismael Burgueño Ruiz, announced this week he was appointing Leyzaola Pérez as the city’s next director of public safety.

A controversial figure, Leyzaola Pérez is a former military officer known for his efforts to crack down on drug cartels and police corruption.

He was appointed Tijuana’s chief of police in 2008 and tried to dismantle corruption within the police department, enlisting the help of the military.

During his tenure as head of Tijuana’s Police Department, he told reporters that he once rejected an $80,000-a-week offer from the drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to help him control drug trafficking in Tijuana.

Four years later, he took on a similar post in Juarez, another Mexican border town mired in drug violence.

Immediately after taking office, he received death threats from cartels who promised to kill a police officer every day until he quit the post.

Shortly after, he was shot once in the neck and two times in the back outside a money exchange house. The wounds left him paralyzed from the waist down.

After recovering, Leyzaola Pérez was indicted for personally torturing suspected drug dealers and his own police officers who he believed were working for cartels, though charges were eventually dropped.

Six years ago, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Tijuana.

In recent years, he’d worked as a security adviser in Baja California.

Baja California’s attorney general told reporters on Wednesday, June 26th, there are no pending charges against Leyzaola Pérez.

“Nothing that would prevent him legally from taking the job,” she said.

Source: BR

Baja California Post