EXCLUSIVE: Mexican Immigration Officers Caught Taking Bribes at Tijuana Airport

INM Corruption Tijuana
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Mexican immigration officers have a long history of demanding bribes at international airports and ports of entry in exchange for bypassing laws and processes that would have kept prohibited persons from entering the country.

Breitbart Texas was able to obtain internal affairs reports from Mexico’s National Immigration Institute which detail investigations into multiple corrupt officers. Law enforcement sources within Mexico’s INM revealed that in most of the cases when corrupt officers are discovered, they are not disciplined, prosecuted, or fired, but simply relocated to another assignment.

In one report, INM officials investigated officer Francisco Javier Hernandez Varela who had been stationed at the Tijuana Cross Border Terminal of the International Airport. The investigation into Hernandez Varela involved him and other officers allowing individuals without travel documents to enter the country and him not entering the traveler’s information in a national immigration database in what is known as an irregular internment. Bribes, depending on nationality, can range from $20 to hundreds of dollars. The investigations at the Tijuana airport began in 2020, however, the issue has been largely kept under wraps.

In early 2022, several travelers, including three groups of students from San Diego, claimed that INM agents took them to an interview room and demanded $20, Union Noticias revealed. The extorted travelers filed complaints with the local tourism bureau in Tijuana. The head of the bureau told El Sol de Tijuana in April that they had been talking with INM officials in an attempt to keep the issue from scaring away visitors.

The investigation materials obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed that one traveler identified as Abraham “AG” entered the country from the U.S., claiming to be a Mexican national but was not able to produce any sort of identification such as a passport or a Mexican voting card.

“I don’t have anything of that” Abraham said in Spanish.

The man claimed to have been born in Guaymas, Sonora, but had become a U.S. citizen. INM Agent Hernandez Varela asked the traveler for his personal information as to his date of birth and where he had been registered. The agent then claimed that Abraham was not coming up in any databases and asked him to step to the side of the booth.

After a short conversation and an apparent exchange of currency hidden in paperwork, Hernandez allows Abraham to continue and the agent then walks away from his booth covering the cash.

The internal affairs report revealed that a subsequent search of the database by INM investigators showed that Abraham’s entry into the country had not been noted.

Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to Mexico City and the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “Williams Cortez” from Baja California. 

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