Two Mexican cops were arrested by California authorities for attempting to rob a home in San Diego County were they were seeking to haul away $1 million.
Jesús Estrada Torres and Marco Quijas Castillo, who were assigned to the Tijuana municipal police department, were apprehended along with four other men by the Federal Bureau of Investigations [FBI] last Friday.
The FBI had been investigating the crew since November.
The two police officers and one of their accomplices, Ignacio Cruz Martínez, were accompanied by an undercover cop in crossing the Mexico-United States border, according to court documents obtained by Mexican news outlet Punto Norte.
Officers Estrada Torres and Quijas Castillo later met up with Mario Eugene Hall, Tomas Emmanuel Ramirez and Jeremiah Nicholas Shaw, all of whom were armed and had traveled from San Bernardino.
The Mexican cops and Cruz Martínez provided surveillance in the area while the an undercover FBI agent gathered the other three men for a meeting outside a Chula Vista department store and provided the access code to the home’s address.
The men were nabbed by the FBI moments after Shaw entered the code into a mail box that contained the residence’s door key.
Estrada Torres, Quijas Castillo and the four other suspects appeared in San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday before Judge Enrique Camarena, the son of the Drug Enforcement Agency [DEA] agent, Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena, who was assassinated by a drug Mexican cartel in 1985. Agent Kiki Camarena’s life is portrayed in the hit Netflix series, Narcos: Mexico.
Estrada Torres rose through the Tijuana police ranks and was named director of a police unit assigned to the district of La Presa Rural. He has been stripped of his title.
The suspects plead ‘not guilt’ to conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit residential burglary and weapons possession, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Although officers Estrada Torres and Quijas Castillo were not carrying any guns at the time of their apprehension, the state of California can charge them with gun possession on the grounds that they were ‘vicariously’ armed during the act of a crime.
If convicted, the Mexican cops can face up to 10 years in prison. They remained in custody on a $1 million bail bond.
All of the suspects are set to appear in court February 14 and 19.