For more than eight months, groups of alleged activists have been responsible for taking the various highway toll booths in Baja California with the intention of raising funds to help the most unprotected people. However, they have seen in it a round and lucrative business, dominated by the “Tijuana Defend” group, who manage to collect up to 90 thousand pesos in a single day for the benefit of those who lead it. Capufe has denounced on several occasions before the FGR and business sectors have done the same, derived from the effects that this generates. At the moment there is no concrete research folder. Those who take the booths daily, do so before the complacency of federal and military police officers present there
Interfering or altering the channels of communication is a federal crime that qualifies as a direct attack, and the corporal punishment can range from 15 days to 30 years in prison, according to the Federal Criminal Code.
However, for eight months, in view and with the complacency of elements of the Federal Police and the Mexican Army, groups of alleged activists for the rights of the elderly, have taken the toll booths on the roads of Baja California.
No authority stops them by interfering in the communication channels, where in addition to preventing the Mexican state in some cases, and in private companies in others, they charge the toll for the maintenance of the roads and the insurance of motorists, surprise those They cross the booths asking for money “for not paying the fixed fee”, with the justification that the “collected” will be invested for the benefit of the elderly population.
The reality is that the taking of toll booths under the protection of the Federal Government, whose authorities do not stop the illicit, has generated millions of pesos to these groups. Lucrar with the booths has become a business for individuals, since federal and military agents do not even try to remove them from the place, by instructions to “respect the human rights of people”, even when they are committing a crime that causes losses to the government and scam those who travel in these ways.
The business is juicy, between 70 thousand and 90 thousand pesos these groups of supposed activists are collected daily that for more than eight months have taken some of the booths of Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate and Mexicali (except for the state ones) , with the argument of “raising” funds from the free movement of motorists, to benefit older adults and single women.
In special cases or festive dates -like last Easter-, they raise up to 130,000 pesos mainly from the flow and transit of foreign or international visitors, who usually give “fees” in dollars with the idea of contributing to the cause.
Photo: Taken from Facebook Tijuana Defends.- Mrs. Selene Dávalos, center, leader of the group “Tijuana Defends”.
Four groups of supposed activists and citizens, usually ask for their respective cooperation practically every day of the week, during eight hours each one of them, but only one, called “Tijuana Defends”, led by Mrs. Selene Davalos. It is the one that has the domain of the whole territory, mainly in the Tijuana-Ensenada booth, at the entrance to Playas de Tijuana.
This group has found in the collection of “voluntary” fees its modus vivendi and illicit enrichment, as some former beneficiaries of this group and people who were dedicated to counting the money informed ZETA .
At the time, Mrs. Dávalos displaced the person leading the movement, Mr. Miguel Mendoza, later the elderly and they were relegated by young people between 17 and 35, who fulfill the function of “defending the square , of shock to maintain the dominion and that Mrs. Selene feels all her protection and support ”.
This was reported by Jorge Canales, named for security, who for more than four months was participating in the movement.
From the proceeds, the lady pays 1,200 pesos to each person for each eight-hour day, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the ones with the most vehicular traffic; They are no longer volunteers, they are people who receive “a fixed salary” in exchange for raising money for her, who “in the end is left with the surplus and from there you don’t know more”.
It allocates 500 to 800 pesos to people in need – about 12 -, who still keep in the movement to “disguise” their “business”; the rest she keeps.
In addition to the illicit enrichment and misrepresentation of the funds raised, the taking of booths involves an affectation to the natural development of the work in them, and a direct affectation in the maintenance of the facilities and the highways themselves, which is why representatives of Caminos and Federal Bridges (Capufe) have filed around 400 complaints with the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), but none has proceeded in a full investigation.
Entrepreneurs and merchants, especially from the Ensenada region who have been directly affected by this situation, recently filed a complaint 1591/2019 with the FGR; For its part, the municipal council of the port will present an appeal to the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to intervene in the situation.
“HELP THE OLD”
With the purpose of raising funds for the elderly, due to the support that the State Government had withdrawn from them, Mr. Miguel Mendoza Álvarez formed a group of people, all of the elderly, whom he called “Tijuana Rises”. Between August and September 2018 they started taking the Tijuana-Ensenada booth to ask for cooperation from motorists.
For each day of collection, the Lord paid between 500 and 600 pesos to each of the elderly who for eight hours began to collect in that booth, where they began to perform this activity only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when more influx of Vehicles travel to the port.
As time went by, the amounts of money were increasing and the activity that at the time was “nonprofit”, began to be totally retroactive to its leader and people who accompanied him in the encomienda, which generated a fracture to the Inside the group
Then Mrs. Selene Dávalos formed “Tijuana Defend herself” in mid-November, and together with her people, the majority of young people who recruited from rehabilitation centers, began to displace Mr. Mendoza and the elderly who continued with him to obtain his benefit.
This situation caused that months later, in March 2019, there was a confrontation between groups, in which the Army had to intervene, when Mr. Mendoza wanted to retake the land and control of the “business” that at the time left him large earnings and now it is in the hands and power of Mrs. Dávalos.
In order not to conflict the situation further, those who were previously inseparable reached an agreement and since then Mr. Mendoza’s group controls the booth on weekends from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm; Mrs. Dávalos’s group does it from 2:00 to 10:00 pm, so everyone gets their resources the way each one “works” for it.
Due to the interference that other groups have shown, the procedure they have is that every night, after ten, they stand guard so that no one else comes to take over, hence they have formed “shock groups” with young people in between 16 and 35 years, to maintain their power.
Under the pretext that these confrontations put the elderly at risk, they were displaced to the extent that many of them no longer belong to any of the groups and only a few continue to do so to “disguise” the supposed “non-profit” activity , as some of the self-called “volunteers” made it known.
These people receive for each day their 1,200 pesos, which in three days of collection translates into 3,600 pesos, salary that is “quite attractive” and for which they have put much of their time, although many do not even know where is all the leftover collected or even aware that it is going for Mrs. Dávalos.
Work not only done in the aforementioned booth, also in the exit to Tecate, Rosarito and San Miguel.
THE OTHER GROUPS
For other purposes and purposes, and taking advantage of the power vacuum and the need of some people, several groups have excelled by taking sporadically any of the aforementioned booths.
One of these is “Peaceful Civil Resistance”, led by Mr. Moisés Ramírez Izquierdo, who are dedicated to take the booths repeatedly in the early morning and morning, under the argument of free transit, based on the constitutional Article 11 thus He points it out.
This group was also characterized by its constant protests against rising taxes on fuels and gasoline, driven by former President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Another of the groups is “Women in Protest”, coordinated by María Ceballos and Selene Rodríguez, with around fifteen members who usually take the booths on Mondays under the argument of being single or unemployed mothers, and in the face of the rising cost of products basic, among other things.
This group, even among the people who are dedicated to collecting, is known as “the huachicoleras”, for its “fame” of obtaining and approaching resources in this way without “working,” according to interviewees’ versions.
“Resistencia Baja California” is another of the groups, led by Mrs. Norma Alicia Fernández, who have carried out this activity since they reported that the City Council had sold a property they used as a soccer field in the Las Delicias subdivision, in the East Zone from Tijuana.
A group that has also been constant in this type of activities, is the one formed by Senator Alejandra León, under the argument of providing free transit to people and not charging at toll booths; however, they have also been singled out for this activity for profit.
By the way, this group is mainly responsible for releasing the Otay booth, leaving for Tecate, and on Sunday April 21 they had a slight clash with civilians who were bothered by the “voluntary” request, knowing that behind them is the senator .
COMPLAINTS AND AFFECTATIONS
According to Capufe authorities, around 4.5 million pesos are lost daily throughout the country by taking booths; amount not yet stipulated as far as Tijuana (or Baja California) is concerned.
Considering the entrance by tolls, the collateral damage to which they allude is the one that is given to the personnel that works there and to the facilities themselves, which have been deteriorating over eight months that takes the taking of booths in the city.
For these reasons, Capufe has made about 400 complaints about various reasons and before different instances such as the FGR, however, at the end of this edition, it was not confirmed if any of these have initiated an investigation folder. What was reported is that regardless of whether the booths are taken, life insurance on the road becomes valid, so that the safety of people continues to be protected.
Regarding the facts, Capufe staff shared with ZETA that every time a takeover is made they make the corresponding complaint or complaint (for that amount), the personnel and values are protected, later the Police are notified Federal to act under the correspondence granted by the Law.
Juan Carlos Morán, a commissioner of the Federal Police in Tijuana, said that for a month and a half, they receive around four complaints related to the taking of booths every day, which they take care of because of the risk it represents for highway users.
These are presented before the common jurisdiction of the federal jurisdiction, and they only hope that it will begin with the corresponding investigations.
For his part, Jorge Menchaca Sinencio, president of the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco) in Ensenada, explained to this Weekly that on Saturday April 20 they filed the complaint 1591/2019 before the FGR, derived from the affectations that both the Tourism as merchants with this situation.
What worries them is that the influx of visitors goes down and in the long run, the highway ends up being damaged due to lack of maintenance, which makes the Scenic Highway a “vulnerable road” for motorists.
TRAINING CABILDO WILL PRESENT EXHORT
The Cabildo de Ensenada will send an appeal to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to act in the toll booth, as is the case in San Miguel.
The councilor Jorge Camargo Villa presented the proposal on Tuesday, April 23 at the Cabildo session, where all the councilors approved the petition for an urgent resolution, due to the effects and the act of illegality it represents.
By the way, lawyer Beningno Licea González reported that the crime that represents this situation is that of “attacks on the general communication channels and crimes that result” because they are mostly concessioned, which in case of investigation, does not represent an informal preventive prison, but the deprivation of liberty, considering that if these groups act in a well-coordinated manner, they could incur the crime of criminal association.
For this to proceed, once the corresponding investigation folder is opened, from Capufe they must present as proof an eye inspection, which consists of the FGR taking some of its agents to the booths to observe the illegal act and stop in flagrance to the people.
Illegal business nationwide in the absence of authority
According to Federal Ways and Bridges personnel, throughout the country, they are taken daily from three to four booths, which represents an approximate loss of 5.4 million pesos and annually reaches 1,400 million pesos, as shared in recent days by Javier Jiménez Espriú, Secretary of Communications and Transportation.
The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced that they will lodge complaints with the Attorney General’s Office to counter this problem, meanwhile, the taking of booths continues with total impunity throughout the national territory.
Motorways and booths such as Mexico-Cuernavaca, Mexico-Querétaro, Mexico-Puebla and Mexico-Toluca, have been taken by students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, workers of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UAM Azcapotzalco), workers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, among others.
The Durango-Mazatlan highway has been taken for more than a year by residents and ejidatarios of the region, due to the disagreement over a debt for compensation of the land on which the road was built.
In Cuernavaca, the booth has been constantly taken by members of the Independent Workers Union of the UAM, who ask for “voluntary” quotas of 50 pesos to each motorist.
Motorcyclist groups also do so under the pretext of demonstrating against the so-called “Vest Law”, which consists of forcing motorcyclists and their companion to wear a vest and helmet, in which the vehicle license plate number is visible – according to the authorities- to reduce the criminal incidence and the “motorcycle-gunmen”.
In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, the Palo Blanco, La Venta, and Paso Morelos booths have been taken frequently by mothers of children in a children’s stay to pay for the expenses.
Sonora is another of the states that have been suffering from the taking of booths, such as those of Guaymas, Hermosillo, and Magdalena de Kino, controlled by a group of people who call themselves “No al Gasolinazo”; They take more than six months and say they raise around 7 thousand pesos a day.
The Mazatlan Post