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San Diego Gangs Tied to Organized Crime Groups in Tijuana

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Aired 4/19/09

Law enforcement officials in San Diego say street gangs here continue to have strong ties to organized crime groups in Tijuana. A gunman killed recently in an attack in Tijuana is believed to belong to both a gang in Barrio Logan and the Arellano Felix Drug Cartel. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has more.

For years, Mexican drug trafficking groups have recruited U.S. gang members to do everything from smuggle drugs to murder.

Tijuana's Arellano Felix Drug Cartel and a gang from San Diego's Barrio Logan neighborhood go back at least 15 years.

In the early 90s, one of the Arellano's head hit men was a San Diego gang member. He and his Barrio Logan associates were blamed for carrying out on of Mexico's most egregious murders... killing a Cardinal in Guadalajara.

Jorge Duran is a lieutenant with San Diego Police's gang unit. He says the relationship between the Arellanos and a number of San Diego gangs continues.

Duran: I think the primary motivation is financial. There's a price for their services south of the border.

Duran says gang members also use their knowledge of law enforcement in San Diego to help the cartel on this side of the border.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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