Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Aspiring California pro fighter among 2 fatally shot at San Ysidro border crossing

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 |

by Sandra Dibble

Sign On San Diego

In a rare shooting at the San Ysidro border crossing, two San Diego workers were killed early Monday as they sat in a pickup waiting to enter the U.S. The men were on their way to work when someone shot them repeatedly with a 9 mm weapon.

The Baja California Attorney General’s Office identified the victims as Kevin Joel Romero, 28, and Sergio Salcido Luna, 25. The agency provided few details of the incident, which occurred at about 2:40 a.m., a time when many workers are in line to cross.

The men’s employer said they lived in Tijuana and worked for West Coast Beverage Maintenance, a company on Morena Boulevard that services and cleans draft beer equipment for bars and restaurants.

Matt Pelot, the company’s owner, said Romero and Salcido had worked for him for about 1 1/2 years. He said both were U.S. citizens who lived in Mexico to keep down expenses.

“They were good guys,” Pelot said. “I don’t think they were dealing drugs, selling drugs or anything to do with drugs. They were both very hardworking individuals. They had a zest for life.”

A Mexican law-enforcement source said the two men apparently were targeted by an assailant who approached on foot between the lines of vehicles, fired his weapon and fled. The Attorney General’s Office statement said that they had been shot in the head, chest, and arms.

Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez told reporters that detectives were investigating the possibility that the incident could be drug related. He said one of the victims – he did not say which one – had a “small packet of drugs among his belongings.”

Neither U.S. nor Mexican officials immediately confirmed the men’s nationality Monday. But a U.S. law-enforcement source said that it appeared that neither had criminal records.

Pelot said the men were friends who would cross early, as many workers do, and take a nap before showing up for work. Both worked out in gyms and were clean cut.

The younger of the two, Salcido, was a cage fighter – a form of martial arts – who was training for a fight in June. Romero was in the process of adopting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son. “They worked real hard and wanted to pick up as much overtime as possible,” Pelot said.

More than 24 million people crossed in personal vehicles last fiscal year at the San Ysidro border crossing, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Shootings in the border crossing lanes are extremely rare. In January 2002, a Mexican soldier sprayed bullets into cars waiting in line on the Mexican side of the Otay Mesa border crossing, wounding three people. In April 1995, a stray bullet from a police shootout hit an innocent Mexican motorist in the head as he was waiting in line to cross into the United States, killing him instantly.

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14 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't quite understand why you posted that gay sex video?

Buela said...

Thanks Gerardo! This is a great update. Very sad these were good young men. But they were targeted by all accounts.

I posted this story on Forum, but it is a bigger story. I got an email from a friend in Rosarito saying FOUR americans were killed day before.

I found two incidents...this one and another in Bahia Los Angeles where a man attending a conference was found betaen to death on the hotel grounds.. I posted what I could find on forum. I am searching for the one in Rosarito area...if anyone knows anything pls let me know.

Anonymous said...

Gordo

I was present at the time of the incident when this happened. It happened around 2:35-2:40am.

A guy with a hooded sweatshirt crept up around the pick up truck and pulled out a black 9mm. With one hand he point blank shot the driver first, then the passenger and re shot both before leaving down the bridge. He had a cover of 2 men before this. One guy was standing watch on the side of the bridge and another was posing as a window washer. Five seconds before the incident, both dissapeared and that's when the shooting happened. Dint see both at all again. Sh1t was pretty hardcore. I was right behind them. Both guys dint had a chance to save themselves. Car must have been standard as it backed down the hill after the hit.

Anyone have any questions about this hit me up!

Anonymous said...

The truth will come out on this story, they had no drugs. They wouldn't have risked that given their daily travels and potential future problems.

They were targeted because they wouldn't work for someone they came across in the bar scene. Their daily travels made them perfect runners and someone wanted to exploit that. Americans used to be off limits, no longer.

This is the first in a new wave of violence against Americans in Baja. What used to be off limits, specifically off limits to the cartels, is now being done by the fringe of these groups. You will know how the cartels really feel about this IF you see a rash of violence against this fringe, like what happened in Mazatlan at Christmas time.

Churrito

J said...

The theory above is pretty preposterous, it's more likely just someone wanted them dead, and they should not have been in Tijuana. Someone made them feel they were safe, and probably for this reason. Could have been talking about someone, could have disrespected someone down there, could have not paid a debt, could have been thought to be working with authorities.

J said...

Disregard that statement about not being in Tijuana, didn't realize they lived there. Probably a personal grudge, but, they could have easily been involved in something, or just me trying to find an easy answer.

Anonymous said...

@J, if you truly think it is "just" a personal grudge, you don't understand how this all works...I think you are trying to find an easy answer.

My family lives there, my wife was born there...personal grudges are usually handled other ways.

Churrito

J said...

what I mean is a personal grudge from mafia or someone affiliated, someone got beat up or 'disrespected' that wasn't supposed to, someones girlfriend was slept with, or hit on, something like that. Maybe it was a drug thing, lost load, unpaid debt, but honestly after those posts, I thought of the guys I know that live in Tijuana and wake up to cross the line at 3 in the morning, and none of it fit someone involved in criminal activities. I'm right across the line myself, and have spent a lot of time in Tijuana, so this is not new to me either.

Anonymous said...

J is correct

just saw a report on TV, victim's gf was chaeting on him, there was a fight, and then he started getting threats from the guy he fought with. This guy will get caught probably as they know who he is, also reported that the gf was somewhere nearby at time of the shooting.

El_Regio said...

This is what happens to people for living over there. When will people get the fact that Mexico is engagned in a war?

Anonymous said...

dont forget that now is the time to do what you want to whoever you want... whether it's a grudge or just business, you can kill in Mexico and get away with it now that authorities will do the bare minimum investigations...

I feel for you Mexico... I'd hate to sleep with one eye open...

Anonymous said...

Did no one read the 1:08 post? There were three guys involved in this hit.

Why is everyone so quick to declare this a non-cartel hit? To show everyone else how much you know. "Oh I live right next door..." You need for this to be a personal matter that does not involve you. Too scary otherwise.

Got news for you guys. Better buy a gun 'cause it is next door to you. Can't trust nobody.

J said...

Maybe I was specific enough, or maybe my post isn't the one you referenced, but I mean a personal problem with cartel members, not business. But, this whole thing is weird. Why hit them at the line, when it will make international headlines? Had these two been murdered in their homes, or on the street, this would have been a paragraph at AFN and thats it. Dumb move or message? and the controlled kil, a handgun, the time of the hit, they def. knew the victims and where they would be.

hasta la madre said...

Yeah this is really strange. If they where nobodies, why do it at the border?

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