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Street Dealers Fuel Spike In Violence In Tijuana

Audio

Aired 6/13/13

Tijuana newspapers have reported a recent spike in violent crime in the city. Street-level dealers are behind much of the violence, experts say.

More than 250 people have been killed in Tijuana so far in 2013. That’s a 25 percent increase compared to the same time span last year.

Between Monday and Tuesday of this week, local authorities registered seven homicides.

The spike comes shortly after American judicial authorities in San Diego declared the end of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization. The Arellano-Felix group had ruled the drug trade in Tijuana and fueled much of the violence there.

But other traffickers have moved in to take over the business. Experts say the powerful Sinaloa cartel now largely controls the area. But it’s using a different method, said Tijuana journalist Vicente Calderón.

“The big drug trafficker organization used to have its own people working [in] the field,”Calderón said. “Now it looks like the big drug traffickers, the drug cartels, are kind of hiring local cells, like freelancers, that are moving drugs or selling drugs [in] the neighborhoods.”

Calderón said these street dealers are the perpetrators and victims of most of the violence in Tijuana these days. And they operate largely independently.

"[The cartels] don't give them as much protection, but at the same time, they don't have the same control over them," Calderón said.

Still, violent crime is much lower in the city than during its height from 2008 to 2010, when drug traffickers battled in the streets and hung bodies from bridges.

Experts have speculated that a truce among high-level traffickers is behind the relative calm in Tijuana. And spikes like the one this week could be anomalies.

Meanwhile, drug-fueled violence has moved to other parts of the country. The Tijuana newsweekly Zeta counts more than 8,000 killings related to organized crime in the five months since Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took office.

Mexican officials put the count at around 5,300, but Zeta and other Mexican media accuse the Peña Nieto administration of ignoring the violence and trying to push it off the front page.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 13, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Well Mr. Pretty Boy Pe~a better change his tactics because one of his own party men, a mayoral candidate in the state of Coahuila, was just assasinated--and I doubt very much that it was the oppostion party.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 13, 2013 at 9:18 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

But I thought Tijuana was a safe and beautiful foodie paradise for the whole family!

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | June 13, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Tijuana is so much safer than the US because they have extremely tight gun control laws. Hopefully America will soon be able to enjoy a huge, Tijuana-like, reduction in violence by pushing gun control legislation through.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 13, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Great news for Filner's joint Olympics plan!

Performance enhancing drugs will be so much easier to get. Just a short walk to any street corner!

Just don't forget your official Olympic bullet-proof vest! Complete with embroidered Olympic rings and mascot, Bullety, the loveable .45 caliber round.

His catchphrase is "Run faster than a bullet! Seriously, I'm not kidding, run faster."

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | June 13, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

There were 503 homicides in Chicago last year. Hopefully, Chicago will soon be able to enjoy a huge, Tijuana-like reduction in violence by pushing gun control legislation through. But I thought Chicago was a safe and beautiful foodie paradise for the whole family! Just don't forget your official Cubs bullet-proof vest!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 13, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey what do you know!! Chicago also has the most restrictive gun laws in the country! See how that works?

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | June 13, 2013 at 2:57 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

JM,

You're right. My point is that life still goes on in Chicago, even with high crime rates. Their homicide rate doesn't mean residents or tourists don't enjoy themselves there; and, it doesn't mean everyone in Chicago is a murderer.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 13, 2013 at 3:51 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

DLR,

You're right! Chicago is about as enticing a place to visit as Tijuana. Or Detroit, Newark, St. Louis, or Washington DC. All crime-ridden cities that only uninformed, careless tourists visit.

Risk your life to eat a bad hot dog at a sad Cubs game? Nope!

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 14, 2013 at 6:45 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

I wonder how much of Chicago's murder rate is linked directly to the Mexican drug trade?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 14, 2013 at 8:26 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

So the lesson here is that restricting guns does not reduce gun crime, and it make cause it to increase.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 14, 2013 at 8:46 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

John Mark and CA Offender, predictable comments. Most of this crime, which many people don't bother to inform themselves about before opening their mouths, occurs in the east side of Tijuana, where their is less housing and few police patrols. This is the area where most newcomers live.

Now, you take a visit in Tijuana or just look at the long lines and you will see more and more US tourists. Many Volvos and BMW's with CA plates coming back across, which scary cats like CA Off and John Marky would think would be obvious/probable targets for a carjacking, but are NOT. Many lone, unescorted attractive young women, also returning on foot at different times of the day, which again, people like Marky and CA would think are prime targets for assault or cop shakedowns, but again, are NOT.

Sure, the returning governing party hasn't succeeded in its campaign promises as far as crime, but it neither is it the paranoid image of wild shoot-outs and empty streets. Far from it.

John Marky, as far as gun laws, do read or hear about mass shootings in Tijuana or any other part of Mexico like Aurora or wealthy Santa Monica??? Hmm, gotta stay away from rich white Santa Monica!!! Don't go there!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 14, 2013 at 8:48 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

CA Offender, you mean to say DC has not tourist attractions??? The monuments? The White House? Lincoln Memorial? All the history that is in DC??? Etc. What planet are you from???

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | June 14, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

JM,

In my opinion, I don't think gun laws are effective because of the problem with enforcement (too many guns, too many bad intentions). The message is that crime exists and drug-related crime is prevalent in all societies. RC's comment about the possible connection between Chicago's crime rate and Mexican drug gangs is worth exploring for an enterprising and well-resourced reporter. KPBS feeds the beast by focusing on obvious, "dog bites man" stories. (There's a drug violence problem in Mexico? Really?!?!)

"The spike comes shortly after American judicial authorities in San Diego declared the end of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization. The Arellano-Felix group had ruled the drug trade in Tijuana and fueled much of the violence there."

THERE'S THE REAL STORY!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 14, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Missionaccomplished sorry but the cars and people you see going across the border do not tell the whole story. I personally know 3 people who have been pulled over by the police in Tijuana, told to get out of their car, and walk home. The police simply kept their car. I know people who have been robbed by the police, who have been robbed by people in Tijuana, and people who live in Mexico who say it is extremely dangerous for anyone to go there and that the media on both sides of the border downplay and hide the facts.

I will trust people who live there and know the truth over your observations of cars and people returning to america.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 14, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

In regards to your mass shooting comment, what does that have to do with anything? Who cares someone was killed in a "mass shooting" or a "single shooting" either way they got killed by a gun. So if there is one mass shooting in california where 4 people died, or 500 single shootings in chicago where 500 people died, the california shootings are worse because it was a "mass shooting?"

This is the conclusion that results when people use emotions and feelings instead of logic and facts to form opinions.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 14, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Missionlost,

I wouldn't call the White House or DC a tourist attraction. Perhaps a protest attraction.

Besides, if you step off the Mall and lose the "protection" of countless heavily armed federal guards, snipers, and blackhawk helicopters circling above, your life is in danger.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 14, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Missionlost,

Your comment about BMWs and "unescorted attractive women" is a bit demeaning and totally unsubstantiated.

But let's get to the heart of your argument. Why are you so interested in covering up the rampant crime in Tijuana in an attempt to attract tourists?

Why not promote San Diego? Every dollar spent in Tijuana is one less spent in San Diego which means fewer jobs, less tax revenue, and more poverty here. Why would you, or anyone, want to hurt San Diego by going to Tijuana?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 14, 2013 at 12:17 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

John Mark, anecdotal evidence is never enough by itself, regardless of the issue. But the fact remains about the east side of town. This is evident in their radio, TV, and online news whenever a murder comes up. Playas or downtown or the area around the Caliente stadium is uncommon. On the other hand, areas known as Mariano Matamoros and near the dam, are much more common crime areas. If businesses on both sides feel secure enough to hold business fairs such as "Tijuana Inovadora" maybe you sure share in their sentiment. Look north, Santa Monica is on a roll!

Takes your James Holmes, he has a higher per capita murder rate than say the small-time pusher who stabbed to death another small-time pusher.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 14, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

CA Offender, if an unescorted young woman is not afraid of traveling by car or on foot to Tijuana, why should you? Do you really think someone's bad experience is a deterrent to others??? No, because it is NOT a pattern. (You should see all the girls going down there on warm Friday or Saturday nights, dressed as Alex would say, at the "height of fashion"!) Mmmaybe you're the type that is afraid of his own shadow, in which case I fully understand. What's more, you can add upper middle class white Santa Monica to your "do not go" list.

I would love to visit the nation's capital, no matter who was president.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 14, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

I didn't see your last comment. San Diego is promoted enough. Tijuana residents are big consumers in San Diego, or didn't you know? EVEN to the economic detriment to their own economy. Pretty much everytime a boycott has been organized in Tijuana, it has failed. Mexican Federal government efforts to keep conusmers in Mexico have also failed for the most part. This has been going on for years. Whom so you think kept that Costco (former Price Club) on Broadway in Chula Vista during the 80s??? Whom do you think have kept the anchor stores at Chula Vista Center going since the early 80s? And drive through the Las Americas parking lots today. See where the license plates are from. Baja plates are even with CA, and if it were not for the employees, probably outnumbered them.

do your research man.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 14, 2013 at 1:41 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

If an unescorted young woman is not afraid to travel to Tijuana alone by foot or car, she is stupid, naive, and will probably end up being sexually assaulted or kidnapped. People are very stupid, they think dangerous third world countries are safe, they don't realize that their handbag represents a years income for many of the residents and they WILL kill and rob you without hesitation if they have the chance.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 14, 2013 at 2:12 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Mission,

Why do you think there are "unescorted women" that go to Tijuana? For a stroll in the warm night air to buy fine art? More likely they are underage and in search of cheap alcohol and drugs. Is that really the economy you want to support?

And you think there is too much tourism in San Diego? Seriously?!

Yes, Mexicans spend a little money in San Diego which is good. But we spend far more there which is negative drain on our local economy and hurts all of us from teachers to firefighters to construction workers.

So I ask again, WHY do you want that? Can you answer that question?

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Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | June 15, 2013 at 9:58 a.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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