San Diego Badge History
JAMES BYERS SHERIFF
ED COOPER UNDERSHERIFF
Deputy H.H. Ozmun Who assisted on this day. The watch was a gift from Governor Abelardo Rodriguez.
Mexican Revolution in San Diego
140 men arraigned at one time.
Captured Armored car attracting the attention of soulders at Ft. Rosecrans
Former General and Mexican Secretary of War Enrique Estrada testifies at his trial in Los Angeles in 1927
In 1926, a hardware store in San Diego was used as a front to purchase small arms and light aircraft to facilitate an invasion into Mexico. The machine guns and other weapons coming to San Diego were intended for members of the Mexican army and other Mexican Nationals to meet on the US side of the border. They were lead be General Enrique Estrada.
The order called for small arms, ammunition, an armored car, and approximately three airplanes which were to be collected and stored in a Los Angeles warehouse before being transported to San Diego.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Washington D.C. was alerted to the substantially large arms order.
FBI Agent Ed Atherton came to San Diego and met with Sheriff James Byers. While this meeting was taking place, US Federal officers were following the transportation of the weapons on a ship to San Pedro, California. Agents on the ship and at the warehouse kept a vigilant watch over the shipment.
Sheriff Byers enlisted The US Army engineers from Ft. Rosecrans to investigate and anticipate the route through San Diego County and the potential points of export. They found the most likely place for the caravan to cross would be Engineer Springs near Dulzura.
The engineers who surveyed the area for the early railroad routes in the late 1800s gave the name to the springs.
The Sheriff’s deputies would hide and wait there once the agents in Los Angeles alerted that the weapons are being moved.
Byers sent Under Sheriff Ed Cooper (Sheriff 1929-1935) to join Agent Atherton as he went to warn Governor Abelardo L. Rodriguez (1889–1967) in Mexicali, Mexico. Rodriguez, a former military commander of the North Territory of Baja California, was the Governor of that state from 1923 – 1929. It was later learned that officers in Rodriguez’s garrison would join the uprising rather than fight to quash it.
Finally, on August 15th, the assembly of the machine guns, planes and the armored car were complete enough to begin the trek to San Diego. A caravan of vehicles began the journey south along the coastal route from Los Angeles to Oceanside where they split into two smaller groups. One continued along the coast while the other traveled east to Escondido and then south from there. The Hardware store in San Diego was not the destination however. Both groups later met at the Old Jamul Road and continued east to Dulzura.
While the Deputies awaited the caravan in Dulzura, Mexican nationals started to arrive at the suspected crossing point. The first truck arrived and the driver was interrogated.
Deputies learned that they had accurately determined the rally point and the majority of the men, to carry out the uprising, were to meet at that location at 8 PM that same night.
They also confirmed that members of the garrison in Tia Juana were going to join them in the uprising to take control of the Baja Peninsula. From all directions, there were trucks and cars arriving one after another. As they arrived, the deputies confronted the men in the vehicles and they were quickly disarmed of small weapons including knives. Each man apprehended had with him a lunch or some kind of food. Over 150 men were arrested and held for Federal authorities after they were marched along the border to Fort Rosecrans.
The journey to Ft Roscrans from Dulzura was long and troublesome as a hand full of deputies were tasked with moving a small army, west, across the county, at night.
Several of the captured men were able to escape and return to the south side of the border. It wasn’t until they had almost reach the end of the march did U.S. Immigration and a few U.S. Marines join to assist. Most of the captured men were delivered to the quarantine area at Fort Rosecrans before being processed and returned to Mexico.
On September 20th, all 140 men faced a federal judge at Fort Rosecrans for violating the Neutrality act before being sent back to Mexico.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department had a key role in quashing an attempted rebellion that would have changed the dynamics of the international border crossing into San Diego for years to come.
Without a doubt, The San Diego Sheriff’s Department acted swiftly and saved countless lives. The Governor presented each deputy with an engraved pocket watch. He went on to have a very successful life in Mexican politics before retiring to La Jolla California where he died in 1967.