Tijuana Tops 2,000 Murders in 2018

A man lies dead on the street after being shot by city police in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP File Photo/Guillermo Arias)
AP File Photo/Guillermo Arias

The Mexican border city of Tijuana topped 2,000 homicides during the first ten months of 2018, as a cartel war rages. Multiple cartel hits add to historic figures with multiple murders registered daily.

The shocking numbers continue despite numerous measures taken by the federal government. Those include a surge of military and federal police assets to the embattled city to quell the cartel violence. Breitbart Texas recently reported that Tijuana broke its all-time annual homicide record in mid-September, according to statistics compiled by the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE).

As of Saturday morning, a total of 126 homicides have been committed in the month of October — pushing the total number to 2,005 killings for the year, according to statistics compiled by the PGJE and reported by the local media.

Homicide statistics released by the PGJE describe a grim situation in which those responsible for the cartel war have little chance of being arrested or prosecuted. This allows mass murdering cartel hit teams to roam freely, adding to the daily body count. From January till the end of September, in a report dated October 18, 95 percent of the 1,880 reported homicides have not been solved. Of those 1,880 killings linked to a suspect, a total of 152 suspects have been arrested. Half of those were later released — leaving a total of 76 linked by law enforcement investigators to the actual homicide.

With such a slim chance of being arrested and prosecuted for murder, warring cartels have little difficulty recruiting foot soldiers to carry out violence on their behalf. Participating in street-level drug sales and working as cartel enforcers is a lucrative option and attracts many career criminals to Tijuana and join the raging cartel war. The street-level causes the shocking number of daily killings that have overwhelmed the police, prosecutors, and the medical examiner’s office.

The bloodshed is generally related to turf wars involving Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), aligned with El Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, against the Sinaloa Cartel. In some areas, rival factions within the Sinaloa Cartel are fighting for control of the lucrative street-level markets and smuggling routes into the United States. Those involved in the killings are primarily low-level dealers, lookouts, customers, and enforcers. Many of the street-level dealers are targets of rip-crews looking for cash and drugs.

Homicides per month during 2018:

  • January — 191
  • February — 177
  • March — 184
  • April — 212
  • May — 216
  • June — 221
  • July — 253
  • August — 211
  • September — 214
  • October — 126 (As of Saturday morning, October 20)

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.)



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