Chief alleges council extortion racket in California border town
December 1, 2014
Members of the Calexico City Council are running an extortion racket and are teaming up with police officers to shut down criminal investigations and blackmail city government members, according to the U.S. border town’s new police chief. [NBC San Diego]
The FBI is currently investigating allegations of corruption within the Calexico Police Department, which federal agents recently raided. Former assistant police of Los Angeles and 34-year veteran of the department, Michael Bostic, has now taken over the scandal-plagued Calexico department and has vowed to root out corruption in it, as well as at city hall.
Bostic said during a press conference last month that when he took over the department the investigation unit was probing no active criminal cases, even though a combined kidnapping and assault of a juvenile occurred in October. The case has yet to be resolved, and Bostic said that the members of the council involved in the extortion racket have been obstructing the investigation.
A member of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors has also interfered with the kidnapping investigation, Bostic said.
Bostic implicates the council in authorizing city funds for purchase of surveillance equipment used to extort their political opponents. Police officers who cooperate with the councilmen used the equipment to track, voice record and photograph other council members in compromising positions, Bostic said.
During the news conference, Bostic cried while describing the corruption he discovered just two weeks into his term. He also vowed to do everything possible to prosecute council members for interfering in criminal investigations, though he added that it is the responsibility of the voters to remove the dishonest councilmen.
The current council majority is working actively to fire him, as well as the interim city manager, Bostic said. Calexico has gone through about 26 city managers in recent years, Bostic estimated.
Allegations have likewise surfaced of drug dealing within the police department. Drug cartels are suspected to have influence in the area due to the town’s proximity to the Mexican border.
Approximately 40,000 people live in Calexico, which is located about 120 miles east of San Diego.