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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sinaloa and Tijuana Cartels Compete for Control a Crucial Baja California Port

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

Recent murder scenes in Ensenada, Baja California
Murders reported in the port city of Ensenada, Baja California, are a direct result of the turf war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel (CAF), who compete for control of the retail drug sales and port facilities in the region. Two high-profile murders highlighting the growing gang violence occurred this month. Yesterday, Borderland Beat reported that port cities like Ensenada are major battlegrounds in Mexico's ongoing drug war.

On March 7, high-ranking CAF member Jael José Morales Leonel ("El 30") was murdered. Two days later, police chief Juan Francisco Chávez Ibarra was killed as well. Morales Leonel was the chief CAF drug dealer in Ensenada; Chávez Ibarra reportedly worked for the Sinaloa Cartel and was killed by men working for CAF boss David López Jiménez ("El Cabo 20"). In this report originally published by the Tijuana-based and award-winning magazine Zeta, Borderland Beat will cover the two murders and attempt to explain the turf war unfolding in Ensenada.

March 7 murder
High-ranking CAF member Morales Leonel was killed inside the Papas & Beer bar in downtown Ensenada. Shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday March 7, gunmen went into the bar and shot him. He was mortally wounded and died minutes later. A stampede broke out inside the bar as confusion and chaos ensued. Diana Monserrat, a 20-year-old lady who was inside the bar, was injured by the gunfire. Authorities stated that she was not tied to Morales Leonel or organized crime. Ensenada residents Chris Regland and Alfonso Reséndiz were also wounded.

Before paramedics arrived at the scene, two young men and a lady tried to stop his bleeding by covering his gunshot wounds and doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Another lady carried on the phone while they tried to keep him alive. A man who videotaped the incident told them: "He's going to die".

Jael Jose Morales Leonel and the murder scene
Bar attendees talked about what occurred. One of them told reporters that the gunfire came from a nearby table. The police confirmed that Morales Leonel was shot three times. At least two hitmen arrived at the bar with the intent to kill him. The police said they had fully identified them.

"Morales Leonel controlled the retail cocaine sales in Ensenada, including its downtown bars. He was also responsible for drug trafficking activities in the U.S.", a police officer confirmed. Mexican drug ballad singer Miguel Comando, who has written songs about multiple CAF members, wrote one about Morales Leonel. The song is titled El de Ensenada (The One from Ensenada) and it is available on YouTube.

Sometime between December 2018 and January 2019, the CJNG suffered an internal strife and several of its members left to join the CAF. El Cabo 20 was one of them and began working under CAF chief Pablo Edwin Huerta Nuño ("El Flaquito"). Morales Leonel soon followed them.

Morales Leonel was assigned as the head of drug sales in Ensenada and they assigned him under José Cristian Gómez Rosales ("El Pitey"), who served as the CAF's liaison with the local police. According to police reports, El Pitey is being investigated for his connection with ex-police chief Gerardo Sosa Olachea. There is a phone conversation he had with the ex-police chief's son Héctor Sosa Flores, where they arrange drug trafficking activities in Baja California. The police chief resigned after the phone conversation was made public.

José Cristian Gómez Rosales ("El Pitey")
Morales Leonel lived in Ensenada and had an extensive criminal background. In 2005, 2008 and 2008, he was charged with battery, attempted robbery and robbery, respectively. He had an arrest warrant issued in 2009 for another robbery charge. In 2016 and 2017, two more arrest warrants were issued for property damage and battery.

El Pitey was born in Tijuana and is 28 years old. He has two houses in Tijuana: one in Durango neighborhood and another in División del Norte. His house in Ensenada is in El Roble. In 2015 and 2016, he was arrested for drug trafficking in Sánchez Taboada neighborhood in Tijuana. This area is widely regarded as a CJNG stronghold. In 2018 and 2019, he was arrested for drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms. In all cases, however, El Pitey was released.

El Pitey is also linked to the 22 January 2020 attack against policemen in Tijuana. In the attack, civilian Jesús Héctor Cabrera Mendoza and officer Marco Antonio Reyes Nahon were killed. The CAF reportedly ordered the attack as retribution for the seizure of 360 kg (793 lbs) of crystal meth and large sums of currency from one of the houses owned by Cabo 20 in Tijuana days prior, as reported by Borderland Beat.

March 9 murder
Police chief Chávez Ibarra was 43 years old when he was killed. He spent nearly half of his life as an officer of the Ensenada Municipal Police force. The night of his murder, he had gone to the gym and was killed in a drive-by shooting while inside a police vehicle.

A few minutes later, a young man wrecked his vehicle a few blocks away from the crime scene. According to the municipal police, the young man collided his vehicle because he was being chased by officers for his involvement in the murder. The young man tried to flee by jumping across several house fences but was apprehended by the police. State authorities stated that they were trying to find evidences against him to see if he was linked to both murders.
Murder scene where police chief Juan Francisco Chávez Ibarra was killed
In a press conference, Ensenada police chief Luis Felipe Chan Baltazar said that Chávez Ibarra did not issue a formal complaint claiming he felt he was in danger or that he had faced any death threats. In addition, Chan confirmed that Chávez Ibarra never requested the police to allow him to take a firearm home. The police did not discard the possibility that Chávez Ibarra's death was linked to organized crime. Since Chávez Ibarra was off-duty when he was killed, no funeral arrangements will be covered by the police force unless his family requests for a special arrangement.

Chávez Ibarra was ousted from the police force after Chan grew suspicious of his organized crime links. However, the Ensenada mayor Armando Ayala Robles moved him to another police force and removed his criminal charges. Chávez Ibarra was disarmed in 10 January 2020.

Two hypotheses
Investigators say there are two hypotheses for Chávez Ibarra's murder:

1. The first one suggests that Chávez Ibarra was killed on orders of David López Jiménez ("El Cabo 20"), a regional leader of the CAF in Baja California. Chávez Ibarra reportedly provided the Sinaloa Cartel with police protection for drugs smuggled in via the port.

2. The second one suggests that Chávez Ibarra was killed for working for the Sinaloa Cartel and being linked to Morales Leonel's murder two days earlier.

An anonymous state police officer who spoke to reporters from the Tijauan-based Zeta magazine said that the Baja California government was looking to arrest a "scapegoat" and charge him with Chávez Ibarra's murder to cover-up the case.  One of the suspects charged for Chávez Ibarra's murder told investigators that he worked for El Cabo 20, but the police officer told reporters that the suspect was not linked to Chávez Ibarra's murder.

The anonymous source told reporters that Chávez Ibarra may have been linked to the CJNG as well. Since the Sinaloa Cartel worked very closely with the Ensenada Municipal Police, Chávez Ibarra was killed by gangsters.

Potential aftermaths
In Tijuana, the cells of El Cabo 20 are fracturing and there is intra-cartel conflict. These turf wars have not fully migrated to Ensenada, but authorities suspect it may be a matter of time before Ensenada becomes a major battleground between the CAF and the Sinaloa Cartel.

In Baja California, the Sinaloa Cartel is commanded by Rene Arzate Garcia ("La Rana"). In November 2018, Sinaloa Cartel and the CAF had a pact of non-aggression; El Flaquito, to show he was committed to the cause, gave up his accomplices Edgar Ruiz y Leonardo Cárdenas to the Sinaloa Cartel. Both were assassinated. This peace treaty appears to no longer be in place.

Below are the Sinaloa Cartel members who operate out of Ensenada:

1. Jorge Alberto Arce Guillén ("El Tigre" and/or "El Brusco")

2. Víctor Manuel Padilla Murillo ("El Chatarras")

3. Carlos Adrián Casas Reyes ("El Ocho", "El Mercenario" and/or "El Tragedias")

4. Ramiro Corrales Montenegro ("El Cinco")

5. Alexis Mendoza Guillén ("El 15")

6. Manuel Calderón Leyva ("El Plumas").

SourceSemanario Zeta


  1. Good job MX. Thanks for sharing the latest BC chronicles.

    1. Thanks! Lots of interesting stuff going on in BC right now.

  2. Awesome job MX. You are taking it to the next level.

    1. Thank you - I appreciate the support, thanks for reading!

  3. CDS fighting in Cd. Juarez too. Multiple attacks against police in Juarez this wednesday

    1. Thanks for letting us know. Do you happen to know what group or players were involved? Villa Ahumada was hot a few weeks ago.

    2. LOL....ignorance is bliss

    3. CDS ain't doing shit in Juarez. If that were the case then narco mantas/banners would be placed all over town accusing the police or their enemies of doing shit against innocents and that they are their tp protect innocents. That's not the case.
      These guys at CDS are experts at propaganda and real fake news.


  4. CAF gave up 2 high ranking guys for a peace treaty but now CDS kills 2 more CAF members? Lame a$$ dudes
    Should have said what MENCHO told MAYO in baja Cali when mayo asked for PEACE "NO PEACE TREATY"
    CAF taking things personal now and los cabos crew getting hit by cjng SICARIOS too for flipping back to CAF
    I would think CAF will get with CJNG after capos get sacked..

    1. CAF and CJNG do have a treaty going on CAF is still strong if they weren't they wouldn't be able to charge piso. Menos ruido y mas accion

    2. 8:43 the article literally stated CAF and cjng broke their alliance guy

    3. 5:47 is on point with his comment. That Flaquito individual is way out for turning anyone in to his rivals, especially 2 of your top guys. Now that treaty is like never was. Not only did those 2 die for nothing, they're not there to help them in this war and I'm sure he weakened his position/comand with his own people with that move. I'm sure more than a couple of his men not only lost respect for him, but don't trust him. Maybe they should give him a taste of his own medicine and accidentally put his location up on social media so some of his fans could pay him a visit. Especially his old friends the deal makers from sinaloa. I'm sure he'd love to see them again 💘

    4. 8:43 Cjng don't pay piso to NOBODY.. That's the reason cjng and CAF started killing each other.. Your a Tijuana fan you should know about the many stories of mantas all over TIJUANA from TIJUANA guys saying they will kill michoacanos for not paying... CJNG didn't back down and started killing many CAF and even took a Big chunk of TIJUANA.. Now there is no QURSTION if they pay PISO or NOT

    5. That's not entirely true guys Balas along with other CAF Vieja Guardia are charging Piso the Cabos did switch to Flakito but that did not break the truce this was a CAF/ Sinaloa beef CJNG had nothing to do with this hit. CDS under la Rana and his brother have been taking hits left and right. Flakito is the main visible head for CAF notice how all the CAF corridos are only up for a while on youtube and then they get deleted? CAF is definitely still strong but CJNG really want Chicali that's why they have been beefing up the plaza boss that's fighting for control of mexicali cough cough cough El Ruso

    6. Whos el ruso ?? So you say cjng is fighting for mexicali now?

  5. Mx GREAT JOB I wish Sol had half your skills...G.C.

  6. (Now here lays The Problem )

    However, the Ensenada mayor Armando Ayala Robles moved him to another police force and removed his criminal charges. Chávez Ibarra was disarmed in 10 January 2020.
    I would like the reason why he did this made public ..
    its almost laughable how much crap goes on with out Public out Cry !

  7. CDS DON'T have the power they had years BACK and it shows here in TIJUANA how CAF is making a comeback and after cjng showed them CDS could be TOUCHED

    1. Good point. If the CAF and CJNG start working together as they have in some occasions, the CDS will be relegated in that region.

    2. 8:01 cjng didn't touch cds in tj but it was the cells that flipped creating ctng from CAF n former cds members, NOBODY came from Jalisco to fight for tj as I said local cells that knew every move of opponents which made it a lot easier to attack all mencho did was to let them use the name

    3. 8:01 thats how real bosses opperate with out having their guys killed, mencho is fucking smart and still has his word and in the drug game your word is respect, unlike cds who nobody trusts cause of all the snitching, im sure that most of cds guys would switch sides to cjng but they cant right now cause they already have beef with some cjng guys, but if they could choose between cjng and cdsnitches they would choose cjng

    4. 1:11 I would still prefer working with a cartel full of snitches but with a "no killing babies" code than with BABY KILLER cartel like cjng...

  8. Hector Sosa (El “H”) the son of the ex-police chief is married to a fashion influencer, Paola Alberdi. She once said her husband works in importing gold. They now fled to Miami.


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