Tijuana Ends 2018 with 2500 Homicides amid Cartel War

Mexican federal police officers stand guard on the Mexico side of the border on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes which can be seen in the background behind the wall. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
AP File Photo/Gregory Bull

Tijuana surpassed 2,500 registered homicide cases at the end of 2018 as a cartel turf war continues to rage.

The state attorney general’s office reported the number of murder cases accounted for in 2018 reached 2,499 in the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve, according to local reporting. Later, police responded to report of a shooting in colonia Valla Verde and encountered an unknown 20-year-old male victim who was shot and killed by occupants in a black pickup who fled the area. Approximately 20 minutes later, police responded to a call in colonia San Martín where citizens discovered an unidentified male murder victim on a dirt road. He suffered multiple blunt force injuries and what appeared to be a puncture wound from an edged weapon. At 9:35 am, police and emergency personnel responded to colonia Las Torres, where a male murder victim was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head. The suspects reportedly were able to flee from the area.

The third case brought the total number of murder victims in Tijuana to 2,502 with 214 registered in December alone. The previous record high was set in 2017 with 1,780.

According to information released by the state attorney general’s office, approximately 85 percent of those killed are tied to the distribution of drugs or are daily users. 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.

Breitbart News law enforcement sources report that many of those involved in the street-level drug trade are not originally from Tijuana. For this reason, many corpses go unclaimed in local morgues since next of kin often believe they are still alive in the United States.

The Secretary for Public Security Secretariat Marco Sotomayor Amezcua said that the primary goal of 2019 is to reduce violence in Tijuana with the deployment of police personnel to areas with the highest number of homicides. The strategy will also include targeting areas where street-level drug dealing is occurring, in addition to proactive weapons confiscations. Those involved in the murders 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. Tijuana Deputy Attorney General Jorge Alberto Álvarez Mendoza previously acknowledged that only 2 percent of cases end in convictions. 

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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