Confrontation, Collusion and Tolerance: The Relationship Between Law Enforcement And Organized Crime in Tijuana

Daniel Sabet


This paper offers an analytic narrative of relations between organized criminal groups and Tijuana’s municipal police force. While civil society mobilization has made it progressively more difficult for elected and appointed officials to tolerate or collude with organized crime, civil society has few tools to hold the rest of the police bureaucracy accountable, particularly when compared with organized crime’s ability to bribe, threaten, and overcome information asymmetries. As a result, interactions between organized crime and the police is a mix of confrontation, corruption, and tolerance. Recognizing the corruptive power of organized crime, this article asks if honest officials can alter the equation for rank and file officers. The paper explores advances in police remuneration, setbacks in selection criteria, the challenges to creating internal accountability mechanisms, and the difficulties in protecting officers.


Police reform; Tijuana; organized crime; corruption; civil society

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