Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halcones of Tijuana

Juan Manuel Rodriquez, 'El Sica', arrested today in Tijuana, is accused of being a lookout for organized crime, operating in a criminal cell loyal to Fernando Sanchez Arellano, 'El Ingeniero'. The 21 year old is also accused of a string of violent robberies targeting convenience stores, grocery shops, and banks. Authorities described 'El Sica' as an 'important piece of a criminal cell', I'd say just the opposite. 'El Sica' represents the lost youth of a generation in Tijuana, and all over Mexico, children who dedicate their lives to criminal organizations, because of economic hardship, or more material reasons. If the latter was the case for 'Sica', the life has certainly failed him, in that regard. It is noted that he received $500 a week for his services, a sum which I am skeptical off, if in US dollars.

I'd guess a bottom level halcon like this, who was stealing from supermarkets wouldn't be worth 500 a week. In addition to this questionable fee, he received an ounce of crystal, of which he was likely a user, if not addict. The drugs could be used and sold, stringing him along in the criminal enterprise, not being skilled, or valuable enough to rise beyond his lowly position, as an errand boy, and accomplice to murder. Certainly the cell of 'El Lic', his alleged boss, will be able to move on without 'El Sica'.

These halcones operate as practically indentured servants to organize crime, sacrificing everything for minimal pay and protection. These youth are pawns in scenarios far beyond their scope and level of knowledge, and either work with the facts of who and what they are, or go on, oblivious to them. In the ongoing battles for control in the city, these are the frontline soldiers, who are murdered, mutilated, and decorated with messages. When they are arrested they are linked to traffickers and cells, of which they likely had minimal to no knowledge of.

Or perhaps, they sung the corridos of Engineer and CAF, raised their whiskeys in honor of the fallen fore fathers of their organization, and dreamed of prominence, kilos of cocaine and beach front estates, while walking the streets of Zona Norte, prowling Calle Coahuila nextel in hand. Awaiting orders from above, while doing hand to hand drug deals, for less then $20 at a time, in back alleys and dingy strip bars.

In a fractured and devastated economy, organized crime and cartels is an option with Tijuana's youth, families that thrived on the tourist industry find themselves crippled as tourism, at least with any profit as all but ceased in the city. I remember, in a different time, Revolucion filled with people, crowded nightclubs, with patrons stumbling out onto the streets, in the early morning hours. These streets are essentially deserted, the halcones and narcomenudistos outnumber the tourists.

The only growing industry is the retail drug trade, which is at the heart of the executions and conflicts, providing employment to these children, for whom better options are almost nonexistent. It is easy for some to denounce these children, many far younger then Rodriquez, and cry for their death and punishment. I look at this face, and see someone, who would likely rob me in an instant, but also someone who probably never had much of chance in life, and who has reached the end of his. Halcones are practically the walking dead in Tijuana, but the corridos and crystal keep the hope alive, as they roam the streets, free and alive for another day.

Sources, AFN Tijuana.

22 comments:

  1. Keep up the good work J. Glad the SD/TJ metro area has a representative amongst the BB ranks.

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  2. J I don't think he will make $500 a week, remember El Pozolero was making $600 a week and he has to disposed dead bodies.

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  3. So sad, so true and eloquently reported. I cry with you from north of the border.

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  4. Sad to see TJ a no-man's land. You think that the lost tourism dollars would be enough for the cartels to cool their heals. Wouldn't they want to keep that money flowing? Have you walked by Adalitas back in the day? They had to be making a killing off that block alone. That place in now a ghost town full of people who dream of jumping that fence. Five years ago I would have thought nothing of walking over the bridge and walking through town to the hot spots. No mas. Good read. Bad town. Fuck you people for ruining my favorite places to go! From Rocky Point, to Peurto Citas, El Gulfo to San Fillepe, and over the mountains to Ensenada and Rosorito. Even down to Cedros Island. Gone and ruined by fuckers who can't see the big picture. You have two countries north of you who are actually upset that Mexico isn't a place to spend their money. It's like having the best restaurant in the world, but you shit in your food.

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  5. Someone did not add their point of view into this article. Sarcasm,lol hAha

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  6. "TJ a no man's-land"??

    You clearly weren't around for the little mishap that El Teo was between April of 2008 to January of 2010.

    Tijuana is most likely the safest border city at the moment, even Mexicali--which used to be a safe haven--has got nothing on TJ.

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  7. Excellent point! Unfortunately it shows that the solution is not more laws, police and blackhawk helicopters BUT since we are not ready to change that approach: lets go on for another 10 years of murders, violence, poverty and societal disintegration. How much worse does it have to get until we realize that a real solution is need ... until it is too late???

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  8. You wrote: "In a fractured and devastated economy, organized crime and cartels is an option"

    I heard that Mexico economy is doing much better than anytime in the past. And this is one of several reasons why the cartels sell now drugs also to mexican citizens. The people can afford buying them more now than in the past.

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  9. The youth are easily corrupted, especially when they can't respect the law or those that enforce it. Sometimes it is just the family business. American youths follow that same path. It isn't all the youths of course, just enough of them to sustain the market.

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  10. qUE BUENO QUE SE LO LLEVE LA CHINGADA !

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  11. Everybody has "A BETTER IDEA" so what is it?? I personally like the idea that we could drug test large groups and instead of silver of lead it will be piss test/rehab or lockdown/hard labor. Does any body think that the drug use epedimic in the WORLD is going to Miracelousley REVERSE itself??

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  12. Mamas don' let your babys grow up to be NARCOs,let um grow up to be doctors or lawyers and such!

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  13. As the author of this story pointed out,what else can this dude do,get a job?Where?As many start to bitch about criminal behavior,remember,this guy has got to steal,sell drugs,stick ups.Maybe if the creation of jobs and such had a more important role in a country's agenda,maybe we might get less crime.Who knows,maybe a lot less crime.I wonder if that would work?No that's common sense,must be wrong.

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  14. I don't know the statistics of the country, or Tijuana, as far as the reference, I am basing that on what I see and hear and experience in the city. As far as the retail drug market, that is another market mainly supported by the poor/lower class. Crystal is dirt cheap, and far from a rich man's drug, it is sold in 10 and 20 dollar amounts. You to into a tiendita in TJ with a $100 dollar bill, they will look at you crazy. Tijuana was never a wealthy city, but people could survive and even prosper, on their standards, not ours, but still. Now, you can see the effects I am talking about just by walking down the street.

    I agree, but hard to become a doctor or a lawyer, when your family of six can hardly afford milk and eggs, citizenship to the US is 27k, and the smugglers are charging 5k to cross....maybe, or maybe you are left in the desert or ocean, robbed or raped.

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  15. Congrats J. The article is useful in focusing on the low level narco-rachas who do the dangerous scut work.

    These expendable youths are both victims and victimizers who only, but unawares, fuel and lubricate their own death machine.

    I'd like to see more similar articles focusing on girl narco-rachas.

    How about it J?

    Mexico Watcher

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  16. J, you are seriously underestimating the retail drug sales the lower cartel cells/members/drug dealers are fighting each over, retail drug sales/drug consumption in Mexico has exploded over these years. Sure your average American consumes 25-30 more drugs than your average Mexican but narco tienditas get thousands of dollars each week or couple of 10,000s each month. Here is a video about street dealers in Nuevo Laredo with bundles of hundred dollars bills, you also have to remember than some halcones sell drugs while they are not in halcon mode.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twGVAMSgzOI&feature=related

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  17. I am not sure what you are accusing me of underestimating, or where I said something objectionable. I know the retail drug market is huge, I mentioned it, in the story. Speaking from what I know, see, and hear in Tijuana the crystal is sold in mainly 10 and 20, 40 dollar amounts from the tienditas. I am sure they gross what you said in your post, I am not sure where the argument is. There's dozens of people arrested in Tijuana monthly with 'doses' of cocaine or crystal, meaning small baggies, not 8ths, quarters, half ounces etc. Those are the narcocumedistas.

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  18. Whatever is going on in TJ and the sea of Corrtez it's working and people are starting to go back.

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  19. Good work J. Good article. I can only agree with you part way. I believe in the power of individual people. Surely the disadvantaged are disadvantaged and cannot overcome it. But there are others who manage to find a way to rise above their circumstances and retain their self-respect along the way.

    What bothers me is that a pure sociological approach contributes to keeping people as disadvantaged victims and can prevent them from achieving the mind-set they need to do better. You could be giving him an excuse to continue behavior that will lead to his early death. Many of those shopkeepers have guns at hand. They also have employees who won't get paid as a result of this guy's crimes.

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  20. bullshit story simply bullshit

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