Two separate raids in the border city of Tijuana by federal and state investigative netted 460 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 60 pounds of heroin. The raids also resulted in the seizure of six vehicles and one arrest.
The first raid occurred in colonia Cerro Colorado on Wednesday morning when ministerial federal police executed a search warrant at a warehouse. The raid followed an investigation developing intelligence that the location was being used to conduct illegal drug activity.
Upon agents gaining entry, police discovered 406 packages containing a white substance later determined to be methamphetamine. The drugs weighed approximately 442.6 pounds (200.7 kilograms). Police also seized 28 packages containing heroin with a total weight of 27.9 pounds. Police discovered the packages in multiple locations within the building, according to a press release from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Fiscalía General de República -FGR). Agents did not discover anyone within the building. Investigators turned the evidence over to personnel from the federal attorney general’s office pending further follow-up investigation as reported by local media.
The second raid occurred Thursday when state preventive police were conducting surveillance at the corner of José Vasconcelos in colonia Alemán. Police observed a 2017 white Nissan Vera without license plates and dark tinted windows parked in the opposite direction from the normal flow of traffic. Officers observed a lone male next to the vehicle holding a large clear plastic bag. Upon noticing that he was being watched by the police officers, the suspect threw the bag into the trunk of the car and immediately drove away. Officers followed behind the individual and completed a traffic stop of a male later identified as Jorge Orlando “N”, 21. Officers conducted a search of the interior of the vehicle and found a black suitcase containing 19 clear plastic baggies containing a white colored granular substance. The substance was later determined to be approximately 19.8 pounds of methamphetamine. Police placed Jorge Orlando under arrest and the drugs turned over to investigative personnel from the state attorney general’s office.
The ongoing cartel violence in Tijuana has been attributed to a bitter turf war tied to the street-level distribution of affordable but potent methamphetamine by street-level gangs being supplied by Mexican drug cartels. The methamphetamine is being manufactured in large meth labs throughout Mexico. The drugs are supplied to street level dealers for sale purposes for the Tijuana street market and to traffickers to be smuggled in large shipments across our southern border for the U.S. drug market. This type of activity is also being blamed for the spike for drug-related cartel violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez which sits next to El Paso Texas. The city of Tijuana has experienced over 800 homicides this year and registered a record-breaking 2518 murders in 2018.
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.)