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Fun-Minded Teens Face Check Entering Mexico

Times Staff Writer

Teens under 18 planning to head to Tijuana for partying purposes during the college spring break may be in for a surprise.

Invoking a rarely used state law, San Diego Chief of Police Bob Burgreen said Thursday that officers will be posted on the U. S. side of the border to spot-check the identification of teen-agers heading south during the next 10 days. If they are under 18 and don’t have their parents’ written permission, Burgreen said, the youths will be turned back at the border, and, in some cases, their parents will be told.

“We’ll turn them around and send them home,” Burgreen declared during a press conference at the pedestrian entrance to Mexico.

He was joined by Jose Francisco Mora Rodarte, the Tijuana police chief who took office seven weeks ago, vowing to reduce corruption. The two chiefs pledged to work together in an effort to stem drunkenness and rowdyism by the tens of thousands of U. S. teens during the next week, a traditional period of pubescent revelry.

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In explaining the unusual spot checks--visitors to Mexico are rarely questioned by authorities on the U. S. side before crossing the border--Burgreen said a seldom-used California law prohibits minors unaccompanied by adults from leaving the United States without the written permission of their parents. The law applies to anyone under 18.

And, just because youths are allowed to enter Mexico doesn’t mean they’re home free.

More details of Tijuana police will be posted on the streets of the border city to discourage unseemly behavior, said Mora, who also pledged to reduce the extortions of foreign tourists that have long been a part of life in Tijuana and other Mexican border towns. Some troublemakers detained in Tijuana may be turned over directly to San Diego police, said the chiefs, who noted that the two departments will be in radio contact.

Once on the U. S. side, Burgreen said, officers assigned to the border area will be on the lookout for inebriated youths, who will not be allowed to enter their cars and drive north.

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“If they come back in a drunken state,” Burgreen said, “they’re definitely going to jail. . . . The police departments on both sides of the border are prepared to deal very harshly with those who do not behave themselves and obey the laws.”

Elsewhere in San Diego, Burgreen said, beach patrols will be bolstered in the next week to deal with an anticipated influx of students seeking good times along the coast.


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