The cartel war in Tijuana continues at an alarming rate with 4,189 murdered in a two year period, coinciding with the current term of Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum Buenrostro.
According to statistics compiled from the state attorney general’s office, local media noted the first two years of Mayor Gastélum Buenrostro’s term were the most violent in the city’s history. The month of November concluded with 201 homicides, bringing the total for 2018 to 2,225.
The early days of December marked a continuation of cartel violence, with 13 murder victims in less than a 24 hour period, according to local reporting. As of December 4, Tijuana already registered 39 homicide cases for the month. This violence only compounds the stress on local services currently seen thanks to the migrant caravan encampment. The mayor recently declared a humanitarian crisis in November and criticized Mexico City’s response to the migrants, Breitbart News reported. The municipal government was forced to deploy valuable security resources to the temporary shelter.
The head of Consejo Ciudadano de Seguridad Pública del Estado (CCSP), or Citizen Council of Public Security Juan Manuel Hernández Niebla, said the mayor failed to seek federal and state government assistance to fully counter the organized violence throughout the city. The head of CCSP acknowledged the record number of homicides does not solely rest on the mayor and added that criminal justice system reforms also share fault.
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. The new criminal justice system implemented nationwide in 2016 is also blamed since many street-level dealers and users are in and out of custody rather quickly—only to become involved in homicide cases over drug disputes. Several governors and state attorneys general admitted to Breitbart News that the new justice system is 10 to 15 years from being properly functional due to the drastic procedural overhauls.
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.)