Tijuana Police Exchange Gunfire, Arrest Five Kidnappers

AP File Photo Guillermo Arias

Tijuana municipal and state police rescued a kidnapping victim on Tuesday after exchanging gunfire during a rescue operation that resulted in the arrests of five suspects.

The kidnapping victim was later identified as the son of a Tijuana businessman, according to local media reports. He was reportedly kidnapped at approximately 1:30 pm in the Colonia Montes Olímpicos neighborhood by five men.

Tijuana municipal police with the assistance of the state preventative authorities immediately launched a rescue operation in Colonia Camino Verde and located a vehicle matching the description provided by witnesses. When police attempted to move in, they came under gunfire but were able to repel the attack. The occupants then fled on foot but were eventually captured nearby and the kidnapping victim was rescued. Media reports indicated that police were able to recover a pistol and all five male suspects were handed over to the ministerial investigative police.

In an unrelated kidnapping and murder investigation, Tijuana police responded to an abandoned warehouse after receiving a call for assistance from a presumed 31-year-old kidnapping victim who escaped his captors. Identified as Israel Soto Lopez, he led police to the abandoned warehouse at approximately 4:12 pm where he was held and uncovered two other victims inside. One was dead with signs of trauma and the second was injured and later taken to a hospital. According to local media, police arrested three suspects identified as Héctor Javier Dueñas Sánchez, 47; José Alvarez Miramontes, 34; and Nicolás Morales Chico, 47.

In a statement released by the public security director of Tijuana, Marco Antonio Sotomayor Amezcua, he claimed that the current kidnappings were not indicative of a trend. He stated that certain crimes will never disappear completely and noted between January and March 2018, there were only three kidnappings reported compared to 32 during the same period 10 years ago. The public security director did acknowledge that there is a serious problem with homicides, Debate reported. By April 17, Tijuana has reached 650 since the beginning of the year.

Breitbart Texas previously reported on the violence attributable to a turf war between remnants of the Cártel de Los Arellano Félix, which is now operating under the name Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG) and aligned with El Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación against the Sinaloa Cartel. In some areas, rival factions within the Sinaloa Cartel are fighting each other for lucrative street-level markets and valuable routes leading into the United States.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)