Following a record-breaking 2017 in which 1,734 murders were registered in the border city of Tijuana, 2018 has continued the alarming pace with at least 132 homicides in the first 23 days of January.
In one case, three suspects who were arrested but later released after discarding two suitcases containing human body parts. They were not detained for murder but instead charged with exhuming corpses and were released pending a future court date. The move sparked outrage and eventually resulted in two of the suspects being detained. The third suspect is currently subject to an arrest warrant.
An average of five murders is being recorded daily since late October 2017. During a recent stretch in less than 48 hours, a total of 14 homicides were counted in to include the execution of a taxi driver in front of the Macro Plaza–a popular tourist destination frequented by U.S. citizens. The taxi driver was executed by two gunmen but left his passengers unharmed. This past Monday, the state attorney general’s office reported nine executions for the day, including an incident in which two people were killed and six wounded.
This ongoing violence in Tijuana has been a result of a turf war between rival drug cartels as they fight for key trafficking routes and street-level distribution, according to local media reports. The escalation can mainly be attributed to the hostilities between the Sinaloa Cártel and their one-time ally, Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) who have aligned themselves with the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), according to Breitbart law enforcement sources.
On Tuesday, authorities reported the discovery of a narco-banner left hanging from an overpass on a well-traveled road. The notice contained threats directed at “El Güero Chompas” and Alberto García Meza alias “El Wicho” signed by the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG), local reports indicate. “El Güero Chompas” is José Luis Mendoza Uriarte of the Sinaloa Cartel and leader of the cell known as “Los Chompas” or “Los Uriarte”. This cell is related to Raydel López Uriarte, who was arrested in 2010. “El Wicho” also belongs to the Sinaloa Cártel. The banner adds that “for every 1 or 2 you kill of ours, we will kill 4 or 6 of yours.” The message is signed by the Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG).
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.)