Two cartel hitmen belonging to the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG)–believed responsible for the murder of two Tijuana municipal police officers in early January–were arrested late last week.
Two members of the CJNG identified as Juan Hernández Quintero, 29, aka “El Tortas,” and his brother, Adrián Homero Hernández Quintero, 35, “El Gordo,” were arrested by the Tijuana municipal police last Thursday in colonia Sánchez Taboada, according to local reports. They were cuffed in the same neighborhood where two police officers were gunned down while eating in a Chinese restaurant. “El Tortas” was reportedly found in possession of a loaded .38 caliber handgun and “El Gordo” a loaded 12-gauge shotgun at the time of their arrests. They were also in possession of illicit substances believed to be methamphetamine, according to local law enforcement sources.
“El Tortas” was identified as an associate of Israel Alejandro Vázquez Vázquez, “El 50” or “El Goofy,” who is one of the regional leaders of the CJNG in Tijuana. He also had an arrest warrant for murder. Another key member of the CJNG identified as José Luis Mora Zamora, 37, aka “El Negro” or “Cabo 23,” was gunned down with his wife while eating at a taco stand in colonia Playas de Tijuana the day after the police murders. Mora Zamora’s involvement was also suspected in the Chinese restaurant shooting. Mora Zamora was a former key member of the Sinaloa Cartel before switching sides to the CJNG and was wanted in the U.S. by the DEA for his alleged role in a large drug trafficking conspiracy.
According to Breitbart local law enforcement contacts and local media reports, Tijuana police were on high alert prior to the restaurant attack after the CJNG issued several death threats. The warnings were made after the cartel gained access to a police radio frequency used between patrol vehicles. The threats were made during the last week of December after officers arrested a member of the CJNG. An unknown male issued a demand to release a CJNG member in custody, or else “they” (police) would all be killed. This threat was made on behalf of the leader of the CJNG, Nemesio Oseguera “El Mencho,” who is one of the most wanted men in Mexico. A few days later, cartel gunmen opened fire with AK-47 rifles at the Chinese eatery.
Tijuana is currently engulfed in a bloody cartel turf war. The border city registered 2,508 homicides for in 2018 and recently registered 18 murders in 18 hours.
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.)