Mexican police are going to review their “Photo Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” policy, introduced in 1997 and targeted directly at drug cartels, after an embarrassing and highly public case of mistaken identity. Mexican officials paraded the supposed Juaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, “Shorty” in english, in front of the media but it soon became evident that they had made a mistake after a very short Mexican in the back of room shouted out, “Hey, that isn’t me!”, before making a hasty exit out a side window onto an awaiting Labrador fitted with a small saddle and galloping off into the distance.
“El Chapo”, or “Shorty”, was able to make a hasty retreat after revealing that he was still at … (ahem) … large.
After some hasty follow up investigations by Mexian authorities, the man arrested turned out to be Felix Beltran Leon and not “El Chapo” as originally thought. Police were quick to withdraw the charges of owning and operating an international drug ring, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, but instead charged him with the lesser crime of being a used car salesman, which carries the smaller maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.
Officers Juan Travolta Hernandez and Eugenio Hack Valdivia apparently staked out the used car dealership for close to thirty minutes before pouncing on the suspect and quickly taking him to the make up van in preparation for his public appearance as “El Chapo”.
President Felipe Calderon appeared in front of the media later that day to announce some specific reforms in the “Photo Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” policy that will be debated and finalized in the upcoming weeks. The following are some of the key changes being proposed.
- All Mexican police will now stop wearing balaclavas and dark goggles which currently prevent them from seeing anything more than three inches away from their face.
- All interrogations will now include the standard question, “What is your name?” with suspects being allowed a minimum of twenty seconds to respond before being slapped and called a lying infidel.
- Given that the statistical average height of a male Mexican is 1.67 metres, the definition of “Shorty” or “El Chapo” will be adjusted as the current definition of less than 1.7 metres captures 98% of the male population.
- The term US intelligence will be reviewed and redefined when it relates to matters of drug cartels, drug mules, and pretty much any other topic that comes to mind.
- The police officer rank of Senior Paparazzi, one level up from a captain, and the role they play in an operation will be reviewed.
- All police television broadcasts will be moved to a lower ratings time of the day.
President Felipe Calderon stands up and waves to the attending media causing each row of journalist to stand up in turn and wave back in a sequential and oscillating fashion.
Despite this recent blunder Mexican authorities are adamant that this was a one off case and that their fight against the drug cartels will continue and only improve with the refinements to the policy.
Edgar Valdez Villareal, “La Barbie”, at a press conference after being captured by Mexican drug police in August 2010.