TIJUANA, Mexico – The police department has issued about 60 slingshots to officers in the violent border city of Tijuana, where soldiers confiscated police weapons two weeks ago on allegations of collusion with drug traffickers.
Municipal police spokesman Fernando Bojorquez said Monday that the slingshots, along with bags of ballbearings, were given to officers patrolling areas of the city visited by tourists.
Tijuana's police force of 2,000 officers has been without guns since Jan. 5, but some patrol alongside armed state police.
President Felipe Calderon sent 3,300 soldiers and federal police to Tijuana at the beginning of January to hunt down drug gangs. The soldiers swept police stations and took officers' guns for inspection amid allegations by federal investigators that a corrupt network of officers supports smugglers who traffic drugs into the U.S. The weapons are still being checked.
About 100 police demonstrated outside Tijuana town hall on Monday demanding the return of their guns. "The arms are our tools for work," said officer Juan Manuel Nieves. "Do they want more police to be killed?"
More than 300 people were slain in Tijuana last year including 13 police officers.