Three police officers were gunned down presumably by cartel operatives in less than 36 hours throughout Baja California in separate attacks ending Sunday.

The first officer was shot on Saturday morning at approximately 8:40 am in colonia Lomas Del Porvenir Infonavit, when Tijuana municipal police officer (PGJE) Jesús Alberto Aguiñiga Villanueva, 35, encountered multiple gunmen while sitting in a parked vehicle. Aguiñiga Villanueva was a member of the Grupo de Operaciones Especiales (GOE) or Special Operations Group and was assigned as a bodyguard for Octavio Santana, the deputy director of the intelligence unit of the municipal police, according to local reports. Approximately nine months ago, several narco-banners placed throughout Tijuana accused deputy director Santana of collaborating with a Sinaloa Cartel, according to local reporting. Aguiñiga Villanueva was off-duty at the time of his death. Investigators are examining the possibility if he was targeted because of his work assignment. One local news agency is reporting the Aguiñiga Villanueva death was unrelated.

The second attack occurred at 10:19 am in Tecate when ministerial police officer Luis Arturo Joya Ramírez, 37, was gunned down in colonia Loma Alta. Joya Ramírez was a member of the anti-narcotics unit assigned but was home recovering from an injury, according to Breitbart law enforcement sources. According to witnesses, the suspects fled in a black Nissan.

The third deadly attack occurred in Mexicali Sunday night at approximately 9:00 pm, when ministerial police officer Heriberto Gutiérrez Martínez, 31, was executed in the Walmart parking lot on Lázaro Cárdenas Boulevard. Off-duty Gutiérrez Martínez sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his back, according to local media reports. Witness and investigative reports indicate that Gutiérrez Martínez was attacked by two or three men armed with handguns. Heriberto Gutiérrez Martínez was a robbery investigator.

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.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at [email protected]

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