While many sources are claiming that the tunnel discovered in Otay Mesa, San Diego, on November 29, 2011, belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel, and it's much publicized leader, Chapo Guzman, it may not be the case. And, it may not matter much.
36 tons of marijuana were pulled out of the tunnel, on both the Tijuana, and US side, and while the 'Captain America' logos were absent this time, many of the bundles contained the label, JR, which may refer to a son of 'El Chapo', but another source states explicitly that the drugs and tunnel belonged to Fernando Sanchez Arellano, 'El Ingeniero', the elusive heir of the Arellano family. The source confirmed they belonged to the Engineer, and one of the cells that operates for him.
The Sinaloa and Arellano cartels are working together in Tijuana, and the latest seizure of both the product and the tunnel, hurts both organizations, as they likely combine resources. It was also reported that the previous tunnel, and the product found may have also belonged to the Engineer, and was given to him as a gift, from Sinaloa Cartel operatives, the Azarte brothers, Aquiles, and La Rana. The gift was given in order to smooth things over, after the arrest of Juan Sillas Rocha, on November 4th. The peace achieved in Tijuana, largely due to agreements by organized crime, is kept with this kind of diplomacy.
Many different reports have tried to make sense of the criminal politics in the city, and no one quite knows the fine print, although it is assumed that Sinaloa pays Sanchez Arellano. Though the opposite is printed by some sources. Recent evidence points to a more intimate coordination between the two, sharing tunnels, and bundling together product, for shipment to the US. Although, this has been suspected since the October 2010 seizure of 134 tons of marijuana, many bearing the mark of 'Engineering', as well as stamps associated with Sinaloa operatives.
Keeping the peace between the two bitter rivals, has not been easy. Blood has been spilling since the early 1990's, twenty years of violence and viciousness. Family members, friends, children, have all been executed, kidnapped, tortured, immeasurable amount of atrocities committed by both sides, in the name of one side or the other. For some, the desire for revenge and blood was too great, and proved impossible to disregard, for the purposes of business.
El Sillas was long considered a problem, labeled unpredictable, impulsive, and drug addled, he was a good solider in war, but proved troublesome when asked to make peace with his former rivals. After Sillas kidnapped the nieces of 'El Mayo', it is said that Sinaloa refused to work with Sanchez Arellano, if 'El Sillas' was allowed to continue in his leadership role, so the father of 'El Sillas' took his place, and Sanchez Arellano ordered Sillas out of Tijuana. Further aggrevating the situation, Sillas went to war with 'El Aquiles', in November of 2010. Bodies were burned alive, hanged from overpasses, heads tossed in the streets, as the two played cat and mouse in eastern Tijuana, until Sillas finally left, near the end of the year.
Sillas returned, in recent months, to generate income, and, was arrested after a reckless attempted murder, of his one time lieutenant, 'El Marquitos'. It is also reported that El Sillas was responsible for leading authorities to the safehouse, in which the Army seized 15 million, belonging to Sinaloa. The house was a financial center for the group, and Sillas, true to his reputation was planning to rob it, a short sighted plan, which no doubt would have caused further problems between the two organizations.
Somewhere beyond the headlines, the truth lies, murky and submerged, and still incomplete. As long as the truce and working agreement continues in Tijuana, hundreds of kilos of cocaine, and hundreds of tons of marijuana will not make it across, but untold hundreds will, as organized crime continues in the city, evolving and adapting, but never stopping, or giving up it's territory.
Sources, AFN Tijuana, Zeta Tijuana.