Tijuana continues to notch an alarming rate of cartel-related homicides with at least 150 tallied in March. The city sits at 514 murders for 2019 thus far.
During the last two days of March, at least seven people were murdered with the first recorded during the early hours of Saturday, when the body of an unidentified 35-year-old male was dumped outside a factory in Los Pinos. On Saturday afternoon, police were summoned to a second location where a 24-year-old male who suffered numerous gunshot wounds was abandoned in a street to die. The man displayed signs of being beaten and investigators located three .45 caliber shell casing nearby. Approximately one hour later, a 44-year-old male was gunned down outside a taquería in colonia La Gloria. According to reports, the man arrived at a food stand where an unknown male walked up and shot him four times at point-blank range, leaving four .9mm shell casings at the scene. At approximately 6:17 pm, a 22-year-old male died from gunshot wounds after being transported to a local medical clinic. The man was shot in the face, head, and arm. A few hours later at approximately 9 pm, a deceased 39-year-old male who suffered multiple gunshot wounds was dumped in the San Antonio de los Buenos neighborhood. Investigators reported finding numerous .9mm shell casings at the scene.
Two more killings were registered early Sunday morning.
This year’s total of 514 homicides city-wide is tracking just short of the 2018 tally during the same period with 546.
On February 4, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered the deployment of additional security personnel to Tijuana to help fight cartel-related violence. The president ordered an increase from 143 soldiers to 990, and from 11 federal police to 183. Another 58 Mexican Marines were added to the surge components.
A study released in March by the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice (El Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal) listed Tijuana as the deadliest city in the world per capita, based on its 2018 registered homicide count.
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.