Battles Over Tijuana Drug Cartel Escalate Deadly Violence
Drug violence appears to be growing in Tijuana. In the past week, more than 45 people have been killed as drug violence escalates at the end of a nearly yearlong truce between rival crime bosses.
The LA Times recently reported that many of the victims appear to be small-time drug dealers or young men with criminal backgrounds. At the murder scenes, attackers left behind threatening narco-messages, a call back to the type of terror tactics used in gang warfare last year where hundreds of lives were the cost.
The gruesome details include a mutilated body of a man discovered hanging from an overpass on a busy highway. Four days later, four decapitated bodies were found. Gunfire was opened that night in a seafood restaurant, killing another four people. More bodies continue to surface all over the city.
Much of the violence appears to stem from a feud between rival crime bosses of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Fernando Sanchez Arellano, a nephew of the cartel’s founders, had been trying to fend off a challenge from one of his lieutenants, Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as El Teo.
The two well-known rivals were believed to have entered into a truce earlier this year, which helped to significantly decrease the homicide rate. This recent surge of killings has pushed the Tijuana death toll to roughly 580. Last year – before the truce – slayings soared past 800.
As state police battle the new onslaught, the rivals appear to be set on protecting their own with little regard for causalities along the way. It is clear both rivals stand to lose millions – if not their lives – if one were to overtake the other in this bloody battle.