Tijuana Cartel War Rages: 18 Killed in 24 Hours

AP File Photo/Guillermo Arias
AP File Photo/Guillermo Arias

The cartel-related violence in the Tijuana metropolitan area recently marked at least 18 killed in less than 24 hours.

A total of 16 murders were registered in Tijuana and an additional two in Playas de Rosarito, according to local reports.

Police responded to various locations throughout the Tijuana metro after midnight Monday morning. Firefighters received a call at Infonavit Lomas del Porvenir and discovered a vehicle on fire. After extinguishing the flames, they found a badly burned body.

In Zona Centro, police found a bag containing a badly mutilated decapitated corpse with visible signs of torture. Investigators found the head inside a garbage bag. Later, inside a residence in colonia Las Villas Santa Fe, investigators found a homicide victim with numerous gunshot wounds and five 9mm shell casings.

Officials also reported two separate double homicides with one occurring in Ejido Lázaro Cárdenas and the other inside the “Proyecto Morado” water treatment facility.

During a series of attacks that began at approximately 1:00pm Monday in colonia Francisco Villa, a team of presumed cartel hitmen arrived in three vehicles. They opened fire on individuals standing in front of a residence. Several were wounded and one later died. The shooters departed in the same cars they arrived in, and minutes later reportedly surfaced at Cañón Del Pato park to open fire at unidentified victims. According to reports from local media, an unknown male working in a nearby body shop was struck by a stray round and died. The cartel operatives then fled the area.

The homicides in Playas del Rosarito occurred inside a house under construction where investigators found an unknown male murder victim with a gunshot wound to the head. A second victim was tossed out of a moving vehicle and onto a city street. The male victim exhibited a head wound and trauma to the body.

According to statistics compiled by local media from the state attorney general’s office, Tijuana registered 1,974 in 2019 and 110 homicides during November alone.

The record-breaking cartel violence in Tijuana is attributed to a fierce turf war involving Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), aligned with El Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, against the Sinaloa Cartel. Lower criminal actors engaged in street-level drug sales on behalf of the major cartels consist of the majority of murder victims, in addition to the local addicts who push the product to supply their daily drug habits.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce completed work assignments in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year tour in Monterrey, Mexico, for the U.S. Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program.


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