The Police in Sonoita are out of control!

dirtsurfer

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
14mph and a speeding ticket. Nuff said. Facts hurt sometimes to those that have closed minds. Being 100% stopped at a stop sign and receiving a ticket for not stopping has nothing to do with speed.
 

Mexico Joe

Cholla Bay 4 Life
Just to add my $.02. We've been doing the same thing now. Last 2 trips I don't even want to bother with the hassle any longer so we've been pulling out the phone camera and recording while we drive through Sonoyta. It's getting out of control. There have been ups and downs in regards to harassment in Sonoyta over the years but right now seems to be the worst. It appears they have free reign to do whatever they want. You would think wrongly targeting your only income source, tourism, would be a complete no no for even the bad guys but corruption is a cancer. Zero accountability.
 

PuroPelicano

Junior Member
It seems to me that this is an important topic and that quite a few travelers feels they have been unjustly stopped and/or fined. I'm not sure of the magnitude of the problem--because it is also important to be supportive of the police when real traffic violations occur. The town of Sonoyta no doubt suffers from some tourist resentment--hundreds of people pass through and very few stop to put revenue in the town I would guess. However, if police abuse is really becoming a problem, it would be important to gather accurate information--such as reaching out to travelers in PP with a survey, gathering dash cam video, and gathering verifiable anecdotes. There is a legal means and right to request and obtain information from the city in order to ascertain the number of violations in a year, and how they were disposed of. Photographs or video of the police officers who are the worst offenders can be gathered. A courtesy letter to the mayor of Sonoyta with a factual summary of the evidence and the issues could be written. And then if things do not improve, perhaps a TV station in Phoenix or Tucson would be interested in the story, but either way, the establishment of a web page for visitors with the information that was gathered, a place to record experiences and photos of the offending police officers would be an embarrassment and deterrent to illegal and corrupt behavior. However, someone has to organize and spearhead this project and I am guessing that no one who regularly passes through wants the exposure. I am sure that the police continue their course of behavior because they can.
 

richwi

Active Member
It seems to me that this is an important topic and that quite a few travelers feels they have been unjustly stopped and/or fined. I'm not sure of the magnitude of the problem--because it is also important to be supportive of the police when real traffic violations occur. The town of Sonoyta no doubt suffers from some tourist resentment--hundreds of people pass through and very few stop to put revenue in the town I would guess. However, if police abuse is really becoming a problem, it would be important to gather accurate information--such as reaching out to travelers in PP with a survey, gathering dash cam video, and gathering verifiable anecdotes. There is a legal means and right to request and obtain information from the city in order to ascertain the number of violations in a year, and how they were disposed of. Photographs or video of the police officers who are the worst offenders can be gathered. A courtesy letter to the mayor of Sonoyta with a factual summary of the evidence and the issues could be written. And then if things do not improve, perhaps a TV station in Phoenix or Tucson would be interested in the story, but either way, the establishment of a web page for visitors with the information that was gathered, a place to record experiences and photos of the offending police officers would be an embarrassment and deterrent to illegal and corrupt behavior. However, someone has to organize and spearhead this project and I am guessing that no one who regularly passes through wants the exposure. I am sure that the police continue their course of behavior because they can.
Do you have any idea how you would get this info from the city of Sonoyta? I suspect this won't be easy, especially for an American.
 

PuroPelicano

Junior Member
Do you have any idea how you would get this info from the city of Sonoyta? I suspect this won't be easy, especially for an American.
I doubt you will get the information, but you have the right to ask. Over and over again. After many people ask and get no reply, that becomes part of the story. Here's the website for the city: http://www.sonoyta.gob.mx/ Here in Spanish is a list of things that are "public information" according to national law: http://www.sonoyta.gob.mx/transparencia/index.php Using these rights, a request pursuant to the federal law would take the form of what the budget for Sonoyta is and how much income is derived from the Police Department and how is it allocated. Also if you go down to the bottom of the home page there is a place to "communicate" which, if you click on it, opens up a box where you can ask questions or make comments. After you've been ignored or blown off, you can start making formal complaints. In addition, there is a tourist protection agency in Mexico called PROFECO (https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=Awr9IMwnvSVg1XkAcAhXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzQEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1613114791/RO=10/RU=https://www.vallartadaily.com/file-complaint-profeco-mexicos-consumer-protection-agency//RK=2/RS=zc1I4r_0UQbNcYSgA6342SidzVg-) and the only time I know of a complaint made to PROFECO regarding a condo purchase rip off in the Baja) on my advice, the complaining party received a nice response from PROFECO and an instantaneous refund of their condo purchase. PROFECO would be a place to file a complaint for police abuse if you had the proof and were not in the wrong. Threatening a complaint to PROFECO in an email to the mayor of Sonoyta might also get his attention. Do not embark on threats in Mexico against the bureaucracy unless you mean them.
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
In my over 25+ years of going to Penasco, averaging 8 trips per year (12-14 per year now with my wife retired, so 24-28 trips thru Sonoyta).
I keep reading all the posts here and on FB about the people telling their stories about getting stopped/targeted in Sonoyta.
Don't get me wrong, I am sure there have been many people pulled over going thru Sonoyta for traveling 30mph,
rolling thru stop signs and just looking like easy targets by the bandito Policia in Sonoyta.

Traveling through Sonoyta we have been stopped 3 times, in over 20 years.
Two of those times we were actually speeding and only once 3 years ago we were pulled by the Bandito Officer #18, that Jerry K,
alerted RPT members about a few years ago.

I laughed when he showed me the radar gun display showing 53kph, I told him "No Lo Creo", (I don't think so).
We were going 24mph or 40kph, with the cruise set at 24. I repeated No Lo Creo 4-5 times every time he pressed me.
He finally let us going with a warning, he didn't attempt trying to fear us into giving him any $$.

We have traveled thru Sonoyta 16 times since August 2020 and we have had zero issues with the Sonoyta Police. I never
exceed 23-24 mph and stop at the 4 stop signs I encounter on my route thru Sonoyta for a full 3-5 seconds.
If I get pulled over while continuing to do my routine, I will tell the officer, No Lo Creo and continue if he pushes it,
and see what happens.

I drove thru Sonoyta at 1:30pm today, zero issues for me, there were 5 cop cars looking for victims.
Bottom line just don't cave in if you have done nothing wrong. Just repeat "No Lo Creo". And see what happens.
 

playaperro

El Pirata
No problems yesterday, cops are always at the bottom of the slope just as you cross, the state police wash their trucks down the street, you won’t have issues with them, they don’t enforce speed limits in town, although I have asked the nice officers to pay fine for me twice in Sonoyta. Also asked them to pay fine in Penasco couple years ago, it was a stop sign at the end of of the block on Josefa, then you stop again at the RR tracks. Believe me it pisses me off but a rather it end quickly.
 

JayT

Active Member
Sonoyta has a strange relationship with Puerto Penasco and its visitors. For most land travelers, Sonoyta is just a non-optional midpoint between A and B. For first timers visiting Puerto Penasco, Sonoyta shapes first impressions of Mexico with all the new sights, smells and experiences you take in the second you cross the border. When the Sonoyta police pull over a family for driving 25mph on the long straight away on the first mile into Mexico, that negative experience builds a foundation of fear and distrust of Mexico that goes home to their friends and family and stays with them the rest of their life. Positive trip reports and vacation stories are critical to keeping Puerto Penasco and Mexico's tourism industry growing and reports of unreasonable police shakedowns of decent law-abiding tourists don't help. All it takes is one sketchy experience to redirect a family's future vacation plans away from Mexico. It's tough enough these days to convince some friends and family to come down and visit Mexico, but when something negative goes down to a visiting guest minutes in their actual drive into Mexico, it touches home fast. 40kmh is the posted speed limit and law in Sonoyta, but it is unreasonably slow and inconsistently administered by the police which becomes very clear when local vehicles tailgate and speed past any visiting vehicle. It's a weird feeling to want to get through a town as quickly as possible and have to drive extraordinarily slow to do so. Is there more the City of Puerto Penasco can do to to work with Sonoyta to support the easy thoroughfare for visitors since it's such a critical economic lifeline to Puerto Penasco? Politics and other factors will always be in play, but it sure would be nice to have more peace of mind while traveling through Sonoyta.
 

audsley

Well Known Member
Toll road that peels off to the west right after you cross the border and connects to the highway somewhere around the old rodeo grounds. It's true that there are some houses along the border to the west and some mountains to be crossed, but it's doable. Currently Sonoyta gets all the tourist traffic and very little of the income. Charge a $5 toll each way and give the city of Sonoyta the revenue. Those who'd rather spend their $5 on street tacos can still take the old way. Any other problems you need solved?
 

MIRAMAR

Well Known Member
We came back to Tucson recently, but on our way from Penasco, we were passed by a truck going about 90 mph. We hit Sonoyta and immediately decreased our speed to 24 mph, but about 1/2 mile into Sonoyta was the truck being pulled over by cops. I'm sure he was speeding in town as well. We have had a couple of tickets in Sonoyta, but now we drive the crawl, backing up Americans and Mexicans both, but we haven't had a ticket in at least 10 years, and we go to PP about 30 times/year (hopefully no more!)
 
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richwi

Active Member
We came back to Tucson recently, but on our way from Penasco, we were passed by a truck going about 90 mph. We hit Sonoyta and immediately decreased our speed to 24 mph, but about 1/2 mile into Sonoyta was the truck being pulled over by cops. I'm sure he was speeding in town as well. We have had a couple of tickets in Sonoyta, but now we drive the crawl, backing up Americans and Mexicans both, but we haven't had a ticket in at least 10 years, and we go to PP about 30 times/year.
Just a little side note...We live full time in Playa Encanto and just took our Polaris Ranger to visit Miramar for the first time. What a cool little community !
 

SarahCrew

New Member
Well, it finally happened to us! Been traveling to RP for years! Had heard about the stop sign/speeding racket and got to experience it 1st hand yesterday! What a bummer! We had just donated to the Bombaderos, too. Asked for a drivers license and THEN explained we would have to go to the police station to get it back. A little different system than the US. Completely infuriating! They went into a whole explanation on how to use our speedometer in Mexico. "The red numbers are kph and the white numbers are mph." We were CREEPING along, completely stopping at every stop sign and they were coming up a side street, pulled out, passed the local behind us and turned on the lights. Unfortunately, we paid them on the spot. Yes we have been told not to do this but we've also heard it makes no difference to "go to the station. " Definitely left a bad taste after a terrific vacation. After we were let go, I thought "What would have happened if we hadn't pulled over? Would they have followed us all the way to the border? Has anyone ever just kept going? And what if you gave them your license and never went to pick it up?
Do they ever stop the shuttle drivers?" Lots of questions. A bypass with a toll sounds good to me, unfortunately the corruption would likely infect that as well. BF is headed back down next month. Hopefully his dues are paid up for now
 
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