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Killings Continue in Tijuana — Mexican Cartel Gunmen Attack Police in Restaurant

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
ROBERT ARCE

A team of cartel hitmen opened fire on two Tijuana police officers inside a Chinese restaurant. The attack left one officer dead and a second officer and restaurant employee wounded this past Thursday.

The attack on the two municipal police officers occurred at approximately 10 pm in colonia Sánchez Taboada. aHitmen of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, (CJNG) armed with AK-47 type rifles carried out the attack, according to the Secretary of Public Security of Tijuana, Marco Antonio Sotomayor as reported by local media. The chief noted that the identity of the criminal group and their leaders were known to government authorities and vowed to hold them responsible.

Officials identified the policeman who lost his life as Officer Fidencio Figueroa Rodríguez and the wounded officer as Officer Omar Araujo. The restaurant employee was reportedly struck in the arm and is expected to recover.

Colonia Sánchez Taboada, where the attack occurred, is one of the violent sections of Tijuana which has a high concentration of street-level dealers moving methamphetamine for the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación. This section is south of the city center of Tijuana.

Breitbart Texas reported on the record-breaking murder rate that Tijuana endured during 2018. The city eclipsed 2500 murders and finished with 2508 for the year according to statistics compiled by the state attorney general’s office.

Information released by the state attorney general’s office revealed that 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. The overwhelming number of those killed are low-level street dealers and users of methamphetamine being supplied by the major cartels which are entrenched in the city.

The drug-related killings in Tijuana have continued at an alarming report with a reported 11 homicides in less than a 24-hour period from earlier this week, from January 2 to the early morning hours of the 3rd.  Of these 11, two cases involved the discovery of victims who had been beheaded, one case involved the discovery of a discarded human head and in another section of the city the discovery of a male victim’s corpse missing the head. In another case, an unidentified male victim believed to be approximately 70 to 75 years of age was discovered in a roadway murdered from multiple gunshots—investigators recovered at least 10 expended rifle round shell casings.

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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