Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Control for street drug trade pushes Tijuana to grisly new record: 1,744 homicides in 2017

Posted by Chvis for Borderland Beat  from SD Union Tribune  Written by Sandra Dibble
 
Click on image to enlarge
W
elcome to 2018,” read the threatening and neatly penned message left early this month with the bodies of a man and woman gunned down in the outlying Tijuana development of Villa del Alamo. “The plaza is not Sinaloa’s, it belongs to Nueva Generación.”

After spiking to unprecedented levels last year, the bloodshed in Tijuana has continued at an unrelenting pace in these first days of the new year as two powerful drug trafficking organizations battle for control of the city’s lucrative street drug sales: The long-established Sinaloa cartel and a newer, aggressive group known as the cartel Nueva Generación Jalisco, often abbreviated as CJNG.

As homicides soared to unprecedented levels across Mexico in 2017, Tijuana registered one of the steepest increases in the country. The tally for the year was a record 1,744 homicides — almost double the record of 910 homicides set in 2016, according to figures from the Baja California Attorney General’s Office.

“The main issue right now with the power struggle is Sinaloa and the CJNG battling for street dealers, narcomenudeo,” said an official with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, speaking on condition that he not be named. “You have got to understand, the money that they make in Tijuana, that’s as much as crossing the border,” with smuggled drugs.

Though bullets have struck innocent bystanders, the killings have been largely targeted and carried out in the city’s impoverished and working class neighborhoods, authorities say. Close to 90 percent of the victims are low-level operatives in the local drug trade, they say.

In many cases, the victims’ bodies are unclaimed, either because they are from other parts of Mexico, or because they are estranged from family members. “There are a lot of people from outside” the region, said Gerardo Sosa Olachea, Baja California’s newly named Public Safety Secretary. “They’re sent up here to get rid of people, and to take possession of the plaza.”

Reducing the violence

Tijuana’s public safety secretary, Marco Antonio Sotomayor, believes that a key step to bringing down the violence is reducing the demand for illicit drugs by battling addiction rates. Methamphetamine is the biggest problem, followed by heroin, he said in an interview earlier this year.

Sosa said support from Mexico’s federal government in preventing drugs from reaching Baja California is essential to reducing the homicides. With drugs arriving by land, air, and water, “we need the federal presence, because they have all the equipment, planes, helicopters.”

Roberto Quijano, a political independent on the city council, has called for a series of measures—including adjustments to Mexico’s new accusatory justice system to prevent the release of suspects of serious crime; a plan by law enforcement agencies to confront the violence; and renewed federal support. “The federal government not only doesn’t send money, it’s no longer participating in operations.”

Still others say the violence can most effectively be lowered by reducing competition among trafficking groups.

According to the DEA, there are five drug trafficking groups based in various parts of Mexico that are operating in the Tijuana region. Besides Sinaloa and CJNG, these are members of the Beltrán-Leyva Organization faction led by Fausto “Chapo” Isidro Meza; the Michoacan-based Familia Michoacana; and remnants of the group that once controlled Tijuana, the Arellano Félix Organization. The Arellanos are said to have joined forces with CJNG to oppose Sinaloa.

The lack of control by a single group is key to explaining the level of violence, said David Shirk, a University of San Diego professor who tracks Mexico’s trafficking groups. “There is no over-arching umbrella of control by the larger organizations that are able to establish rules of the game,” he said. “There’s confusion and disarray at the lower levels because there’s no one to call the shots.”

Key smuggling route

Tijuana, with some 1.8 million residents, has long been key to drug trafficking organizations vying for control of a critical route for smuggling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to the United States, the world’s largest consumer of illicit drugs.

As in past years, Tijuana’s homicides far outnumber those of the state’s other five municipalities. State figures for 2017 show 189 for Ensenada, 157 for Mexicali, 121 for Rosarito Beach and 68 for Tecate.

Despite the spiking homicide numbers, the city’s main business districts have remained vibrant, with shops and restaurants full, and its numerous factories booming with activity. This stands in marked contrast to a decade ago, a time of global economic downturn, when Tijuana was the setting of brazen shootings in bars and busy thoroughfares, gruesome displays of bodies hung from bridges, and killings of numerous police officers.

Back then, the long-dominant Arellano Félix Organization fought off a challenge from a former lieutenant backed by the Sinaloa cartel for control of Tijuana, a critical corridor to supply the large U.S. demand for heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. As top leaders of the Arellano group were killed or arrested, the group became a shadow of its former self, and Sinaloa took dominance of the plaza.

“In 2008, it was easier to explain the situation,” said an official at the Baja California Attorney General’s Office who requested anonymity because he is not an authorized spokesman for the agency. “The groups were clearly identified.”

As Sinaloa consolidated its control, the killings plummeted — from 844 in 2008, until then the city’s most violent year, to 364 in 2012. But since then, they have fairly steadily mounted.

But while homicides are up, other crimes such as kidnapping and extortion that drove many upper- and middle-class residents to move across the border have fallen significantly since 2008-2010, according to an analysis of state figures by USD’s Shirk.

Fall of Chapo, rise in violence

Shirk said Tijuana’s increase in homicides is part of a larger national picture that has to do with the rise of the CJNG, a group based in Guadalajara and led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “Mencho.” The group has been growing in strength in different regions of the country, especially in areas once controlled by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the Sinaloa cartel leader extradited to the United States a year ago, he said.

The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Oseguera, who was indicted in 2014 in U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C. It is offering a similar reward for information leading to the capture of the Sinaloa cartel’s current leader, Ismael “Mayo” Zambada.

At the helm of Sinaloa’s operations in Baja California is Alfonso Arzate García, known as “El Aquiles,” and his brother René Arzate García, “La Rana,”according to the DEA. Both spend most of their time outside the region; the individual running day-to-day operations is an individual by the nickname "El Toro,” according to DEA.

In September, Mexican authorities arrested the man described as the leader of Tijuana operations for the CJNG, Juan José Perez Vargas, “El Piolin.” He is described in news reports as a former Sinaloa cartel operative born in San Diego. “Hopefully, he is going to be extradited to the U.S.,” said the DEA official. “Hopefully we can get him to be a witness against all the CJNG people we have indicted here in San Diego.”

27 comments:

  1. I think it's possible Tijuana could go Juarez route
    2010 - 3,000+

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    1. It's funny all these diff statistics of the carnage in Mexico. Maybe some of their mathematicians should work for the police and try to solve the 99% that go unsolved.

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    2. @3:15 The Math says: rich enterprise areas and rich American buyers from rich US cities or rich local drug traffickers from tijuas do not get murdered, targeted, kidnapped or shit.
      That leaves the poor and the broke assed addicts and grameros on the shit hole to their own devises and Las pistols of their executioners THAT COULD BE PUT TO BETTER USE against the rich simply because that where the money IS.
      Meth could be supplied for free to these poor broke asses that are getting killed with guns and bullets which price do not reflect the incredibly low profits a broke ass market offers.
      But executions programs may be helping keep these poor broke ass advertising threes from reaching the other side on the US, it all looks like ethnic cleansing courtesy of private contractors paid by the rich and the beautiful with money to burn, many have predicted and pushed for "El Loco Duterte's Tactics" applied to the people that look like addicts or grameros, and it shows in Mexico all over, try to looks like an expensive rich billionaire when riding your bicycles.
      @3:15 Do the math and show your work with your report.

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  2. Jajajaja the school of the arellanos. What a cluster fuck.

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  3. Would of been a different story if the AFO still ran the show...not even CJNG can close Tijuana like the AFO did.

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    1. Afo does that again, then the afo will be the main objective. Less noise more action.

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    2. The show wouldve been completely different if Los Arellano and Amado Carrillo were still alive

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    3. You forgot the AFO got hit hard cause of CDS?
      3:21Pm
      Can't let any one know what you are doing I think AFO had learned that.
      CDS is still active though they have held the Arizona and New Mexico borders for a while... But I'm pretty sure BLO has a big stake in those areas too. And actually they BLO does cross and distributes from LA to the Northwest and to Chicago, they also enter from The huge Texas border and hit Austin and distribute to Colorado and laterally , as well as Chicago ... BLO bread and butter is Chicago

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    4. Not so many ppl left with AFO so they offered themself to cjng. Would be a complete different Story if chapo would be still in mx. Less murder.rape.kidnapping.extorsion. But Times are changing.

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    5. 9:54 chapo is the reason why all that shit is happening

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  4. The whole time they were in control Chapo or Mayo's people were fucking with them they had a few years like 2 were they were in contested bosses

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  5. The whole time they were in control Chapo or Mayo's people were fucking with them they had a few years like 2 were they were in contested bosses

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  6. I wonder how rich Aquiles and Rana are now that they have been running Mayo's dope for almost a decade..

    Definitely multi-millionaires but multi-hundred-millionaires?

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  7. A few million between them, would be my guess, in total assets and liquid.

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    1. Ya...they may be boss's but they get around a million a year, a ranch, plus daily expenses, and vehicles. Very lucrative, if you have enough behind you keeping the law, and rivals from killing you. But Toro, Aquiles, and Rana been at it for a minute. They must be really in tight with Mayo. He takes care of his Capos, as long as they earn, and stay off the internet. I'm sure 20 is in there too laying low.

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    2. A million pesos aint shit.

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    3. Listen to these geniuses totting up the accounts,fuckin balloon heads

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    4. Who said Pesos??? Idk about other cartels, but in interviews with convicted Zetas, they all claimed, their goal was to be a plaza boss. A mill US, a ranch,and all else needed to keep the plaza. Like I said lucrative, if you can keep your ass above ground.

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    5. 12:29 right 🤣

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  8. Thanks Chivis, excellent follow up and perspective. Does not look good.

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    1. s\he is one of my top fave U.S. reporters on the narco war. and you are correct she really does give great perspective.

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  9. As I've said many times here, it's not all about you USA. Mexico is now killing itself all by itself. The narco menudeo rates and murders should frighten the Hell out of anyone near Mexico. The country has no functioning criminal justice system, and it's now not all about selling drugs to whitey-USA. It's about local drug dealers killing for local market share...

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    1. Nowadays at least in Chihuahua anywhere from 93 to 97 percent of killings are local street level dealers eliminating rivals off. The remainder of the killings are the same type you would find in most urban areas even in the U.S.
      My point is that if even the residents in Chihuahua are not being targeted by cartels anymore what makes idiots like you and the White House assume that cartels will begin shit on the U.S. side of the border? I, live in ELP right across the border from cd Juarez and it is safe as shit. No need to fear the cartels here at all.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Where do la familia and Los beltranes stand in the war?

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    Replies
    1. Familia is done Beltranes are closer every day with cjng

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  12. I hit Cracko, Cracko hits Tepo, Tepo hits me. There's too many bosses! We can't get anything done!!! - Bela Oxmyx, "A Piece of the Action" Star Trek, 1968

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