Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Drug wars in Tijuana

Things seem a little more interesting of late in Tijuana. Not so you'd notice of course; the violence in Mexico doesn't seem to serve any politician's interest here in the US, so unless you live in the area odds are you've never heard of it.

Bodies of 5, mostly minors, found executed outside Tijuana

Four of the five appear to be minors, a Tijuana municipal police source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. One of the victims was female.

The victims had been handcuffed and shot to death, according to Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias, a news agency in Tijuana. The agency said the bodies were found in an area known as Rancho Los Potrillos in an lightly populated eastern area.

The discovery comes amid a spike in violence in the region. The weakening the Arellano Felix drug cartel in recent years has allowed smaller criminal groups to gain strength, analysts say.

Minors rarely have been victimized, but earlier this year the 11-year-old daughter of a Tijuana police commander was shot to death along with her parents when armed gunmen attacked their home.

Report: 2 Dead In 5-Hour Tijuana Gun Battle

The five-hour gun battle, which began Sunday night and went on until early Monday morning, took place in a residential neighborhood near the U.S-Mexico border, the report said. One Mexican police officer and one of the alleged gang members were killed, according to Reuters.


The Mexican army has now been called in to replace local police in Mexico's war on drugs, and the U.S. government is trying to help. Officials north of the border said they are concerned that the violence could spill over.

Before you mention that there's drug related violence on our side of the border as well, there is but apparently not to the same extent.

If nothing else, gangs in Mexico appear to be better armed:

Among the weapons confiscated were 24 large-caliber guns -- including automatic military type machine guns -- and 19 long-range type weapons. About 200 handguns and more than 30,000 ammunition cartridges were also seized. In addition to the weapons, officers found several fully armored vehicles with bulletproof exteriors and hidden compartments.

The building is thought to be a training facility for the Arellano-Felix cartel, and officials said it featured an indoor shooting range.

Indoor shooting range? Machine guns? Training facility? Sounds like a police department here, not a street gang.

From some of the images in that last article, it seems the confiscated weapons include:

Which is a bit better gear than what street gangs here in the US can muster.

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