The cartel-fueled violence in Tijuana continues to rage with at least 20 killed during a 24-hour period this past Saturday and Sunday. The unofficial total of homicides in the city now sits at more than 1,200 for 2019.
At 11:15 pm Saturday, a team of cartel gunmen opened fire from a vehicle in colonia Libertad; killing five individuals and wounding and two others. The residence located at 12776 Cañón Zapata was holding a party when the victims were struck by gunfire from a white Lincoln Navigator before it sped away. The murder victims were three females and two males, according to local media reports. The males were identified as Cristian Ricardo, 20, and Mario Eduardo, 17. Surnames are typically withheld from official reports in Mexico.
A short time later, police reported four nearly simultaneous attacks in colonia Campestre Murúa, which left at least four more dead. Police also reported two murder victims were discovered behind a commercial plaza on Bulevar 2000.
According to information from the state attorney general’s office, seven other attacks occurred throughout various colonias in Tijuana.
Tijuana sits on the U.S. border with California, approximately 17 miles south of San Diego. The cartel violence is attributed to a resurgence of remnants from the Cártel de Los Arellano Félix, which has aligned with Cártel Tijuana Nueva Generación (CTNG). These two criminal groups are engaged in a turf dispute with the Sinaloa Cartel. In some areas, rival factions within the Sinaloa Cartel are fighting for control of the lucrative street-level markets and valuable routes leading into the United States. Those involved in the killings are primarily low-level street dealers, lookouts, customers and enforcers for these individual criminal gangs. Many of these street-level dealers are targets of rip-crews looking for cash and drugs.
Tijuana set a new record for homicides in a single year in 2018 with 2,518 despite numerous measures taken by Mexico City to intervene, including military surges and use of additional federal and state police personnel.
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.)