August 29, 2008

After the calm…a new violent storm

By Mariana Martínez

After an apparent calm in Tijuana, there was a series of terribly violent events this week: A business man was murdered, three men were taken against their will in Rosarito and five others were found dead, four of them had been decapitated and three of their heads where burned to ashes and had a narco-messege written on the bodies.

Various civil society sectors ask for authorities to bring back General Aponte Polito, whose exit coincided with the violent wave, while the State government pays millions for national high-rating TV show “Hoy” to be transmitted from Tijuana and help disperse the cities violent reputation.

Just a few days ago, authorities where cheering about the capture of Pedro Ignacio Zazueta a.k.a “El Pit”, during a military operation performed at dawn, at the Caliente Casino.

With this last bodies found, there have been 320 violent deaths in Tijuana this year, according to official statistics by the States PGR (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado).

The violent deaths appears to be following a pattern that started the night of august 13th, when over a 100 police cars were involved in a chase of a suspicious 10 car convoy across boulevard Insurgentes, one of Tijuana’s main streets.

After such police display, three cars, 12 arms, 10 long and two handguns were seized, along with 24 chargers and 627 magazines.

August 19, an Ensenada business man was killed in front of his wife and children, while fighting against a kidnapping attempt in Mesa Otay (Tijuana), perpetrated by armed gunman.

Days after the police chase by municipal police, it was said that the convoy was actually protecting Pedro Ignacio Zazueta alias “El Pit” aka Rubén Ríos Estrada, who was finally detained on the early hours of August 22 when Federal Agents stormed into the Caliente Casino at the Tijuana racetrack.

Agents also seized a vehicle, an R15 rifle and shotgun, magazines as well as PGR and Municipal police uniforms.

Zazueta, who was detained along with Héctor Manuel Mora Mendoza, is a known gang member from the Logan Barrio in San Diego, and considered by authorities one of the closest men around Fernando Sánchez Arellano, Nick named “El Ingeniero” now believed to be the lider of the Arellano Félix Cartel.

  The same night of the arrests, three men were taken against their will from a home in Rosario and Monday august 25th, authorities found two bodies in the outskirts of Tijuana, one of the bodies was decapitated and the other had signs of torture.

Not even 24 hours had passed when Tuesday the 26th, three more bodies were found, beheaded, their heads burned and messages written on their bodies.

State Attorney Rommel Moreno Manjarrez, said the recent executions are results of a squabble amongst members of organized crime that are fighting for control of the drug business in Tijuana streets.

Moreno added this fight has been getting worse since the government detained key members of the Arellano Felix Cartel. “We just didn’t expect organized crime to react this way” he added.

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