PanamaTimes

Monday, Jun 17, 2024

Tijuana rocked by wave of violent crime

Tijuana rocked by wave of violent crime

Thousands of federal troops have been deployed to several Mexican border cities, including Tijuana, amid a flare up in gang violence.
The northern state of Baja California was hit by a wave of arson that saw nearly 30 vehicles burned and highways blocked on Friday night.

It followed a week of violence and shootings in other Mexican states.

The central government has blamed the chaos on the powerful Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.

Officials have suggested that several cartels are involved in a power struggle and at least 17 people have been arrested in the most recent unrest, local media reported.

On Saturday, few people ventured out on the streets in Tijuana, with shops remaining closed and university classes cancelled. Many bus services also stopped running.

Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero urged drug gangs to stop the violence.

"Today we are saying to the organized crime groups that are committing these crimes, that Tijuana is going to remain open and take care of its citizens," she said in a video.

"We also ask them to settle their debts with those who didn't pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens."

Some 350 additional troops were flown into Tijuana on Saturday, and Ms Caballero said around 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 police officers have been deployed across the state to restore order.

State Governor Marina Del Pilar pledged to "apply all the strength of our Government so that there is peace and we find those responsible for these attacks".

The US consulate said in a statement that it "is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks and heavy police activity" in several cities in the region and urged its employees to shelter in place.

Tijuana sits on the US border and the area around the city is a lucrative drug trafficking route. While it has long been controlled by the Arellano Felix cartel, it is believed to have become a battleground between several other gangs.

Earlier this week drug cartel gunmen burned vehicles and businesses in the western states of Jalisco and Guanajuato after authorities attempted to detain a leader of the Jalisco cartel.

And a gang riot at a prison in the border city of Ciudad Juarez quickly spread onto the streets, killing 11 people on Thursday.
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