Glimpses from Tijuana
In comparison to the brazen and public violence in cities like Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Juarez, and the lengthy, raging gun battles in Tamaulipas, the violence in Tijuana passes almost calmly through the city, occurring, and then disappearing as if it never took place. The Union Tribune, the local San Diego paper, across from Tijuana, rarely picks up the stories of the slayings across the line, only a hanging body or massacre will draw much attention from the paper. That is not to entirely blame the Union Tribune, as these murders are often low key, and uneventful, to those not immediately involved in their aftermath, and investigation. To an outsider, one unfamiliar with the drug trade and politics of the city, even those who are these killings have become increasingly difficult to connect, and analyze, and so they go unnoticed, even as bodies are burned, and heads found in duffle bags turn up on the sidewalk, often with attached messages, which the authorities have been refusing to disclose for months now, for unknown reasons.
Do the press or police not want to assist the narcos in their campaigns of terror and intimidation? Is it too keep things discreet, and not attract negative attention to the city? Every once in a while one will sneak through, for unknown reasons, and it feels like we have been given a piece of a puzzle, with many still missing. A loose strand that we are unable to connect to much of anything else, and that brings up more questions then it answers.
On June 10 a body was found near Rosarito Beach, with signs of torture, and bearing a sign which read Por andar chapulineando atte.Los Tigres, which loosely translated means 'For standing with/walking with grasshoppers' Grasshoppers, is a a narco term meaning, essentially a traitor, someone who switches sides in organized crime. The questions begin here, who are Los Tigres? This is the first banner bearing their signature, or is it simply the first published? It is likely they are the people of Jose 'El Tigre' Soto, the 'last man standing' out of El Tomate, and El Guicho, all former operators of detained boss Teodoro 'El Teo' Simnetnal. Are they fighting for the Rosarito Beach territory, which formerly belonged to El Guicho? Are they aligned with Sinaloa? I can only offer threads of educated guesswork in this article, as to who they are, and who they are fighting.
One day later in the La Presa and Loma Dorado neighborhood two men are executed moments apart, and we are informed they were members of the cell belonging to El Guicho. Again, fleeting and brief information, that we are unable to piece together. A power struggle in the aftermath of Guicho's arrest? Another group trying to finish off the cell? Earlier this week, a suitcase containing bagged body parts was found, authorities believe it may belong to the head found a week or so earlier.
The violence in Tijuana seems to flare up at a moments notice, and things escalate from dead bodies, to dismembered limbs in the street, to public hangings, then just as soon as they start, they vanish, and nothing more is heard, maybe an arrest or two is made, and then it's back to the usual. But, still the questions remains, who is fighting in the city? Who, if anyone controls the plaza? Who, if anyone is ordering these deaths, or are they result of low level infighting? Where is CAF? Who is 'El Achilles' whose name has drifted into conversation and corridos on both sides of the border? Today, three men were found strangled, and shot in the Sanchez Taboada neighborhood, there was a narco message found at the scene, which was left unpublished. We are left with scraps to try and connect the pieces as the violence quietly goes on Tijuana.
Sources: AFN Tijuana, Zeta Magazine, Frontera,