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Tijuana drug violence erupts anew, but the act is getting old

A federal police convoy moves through the streets of Tijuana.

Outposts has and remains supportive of Rosarito Beach as a reasonably safe place to surf, fish, ride horses or ATVs and party.

But this blog will not ignore bad news occurring in the vicinity of the northern Baja California tourist destination, and that includes Tijuana, where a far more volatile situation exists and where a gruesome discovery was made Tuesday.

Mexican police found six bodies, including three whose heads, arms and legs had been cut off, in Tijuana and nearby Tecate. Police also found a note that described the victims as snitches.

As usual, the bloodshed was related to an unceasing struggle between cartel factions to gain control of the flow of drugs into the United States. (See The Times' in-depth reporting on this at Mexico Under Siege.)

This largely involves Fernando Sanchez Arellano, leader of a faction founded by his uncles -- the infamous Arellano Felix brothers -- and top enforcer Teodoro "El Teo" Garcia Simental.

These two ought to wage a duel, and to the winner go the spoils, rather than participate in a tit-for-tat murder-and-dismemberment spree that seems only to thin populations within their ranks.

Perhaps if there were only one power in control of the Tijuana cartel, as was the case when the "brothers" were in charge, the level of violence throughout northern Baja would sharply diminish.

It's a sad thing to hope for, but so much violence and bloodshed is killing tourism and the livelihoods of thousands of innocent victims. It's all really sad.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: A federal police convoy moves through the streets of Tijuana. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (6)

Let me tell you something about Tijuana....the ones that have problems are involved in stuff they shouldn't be involved in. Go with an attitude and you'll pay for it. Downtown LA, San Fran, or even San Diego is more dangerous than Downtown "TJ' ...15 years of visiting tells you this.

I'd love anyone's honest and accurate opinion of the current situation in Rosarito for tourists. My sister and I are supposed to drive down in Mid-March from LA.

The driving is what we're most worried about, I guess. But these articles and some of these comments make it sound like a war zone. Are we crazy?

I have never liked Mexico. There are too many other nice places in this world to go even if it costs me hefty air fare to get there. But I do wish the people of Mexico luck in fighting this rediculus violence.

I just got back from a trip to Rosarito Beach. It is completely safe and I love it. I go down there twice a year because it's the only get away that fits in my budget.

You can rent a luxury condo down there for $120 per night or less right now and can buy a full meal for $7 american.

It's the most bang for your buck and the security down there is fine. You just drive down the 'scenic route' to get there and avoid tijuana....

I agree Rosarito is still a diamond in the rough!

i was robbed by policia on avenida revolution the crooked cop stole all $300 not even leaving me anything
there was not one non mexican on the whole street trust me if the us military wont let trained solders go you shouldnt.
beware of mexico
sure i have been there many times but now things have changed you are a target. if your white or non mexican the people are very poor

Pete - I'm confused. You appear to be sympathetic to how the situation in Baja California is affecting the millions of law-abiding residents of that State how are trying to raise families, go to work, improve their communities, etc....and yet your article has the following problems which will mis-inform hundreds or thousands of potential visitors to that region:

1) You use a photo from over a year ago (but don't mention this) that gives readers an impression that Tijuana is unsafe for visitors (when, in fact, not even ONE tourist visiting Tijuana was harmed in the inter-cartel violence in 2008 or to-date in 2009).

2) You seem to imply that you "support" Rosarito, but that Tijuana's violence (which, again, is highly concentrated on bad guys - not visitors) is somehow "volatile" in comparison...which seems more like a personal bias, an not very objective. The reality: even in the worst situation of last year, Tijuana had a murder rate under New Orleans.

3) Your headline (just like other news outlets) includes two of the six murders as if they were in "Tijuana" when in fact they occured OUTSIDE of the City entirely (Tecate), while the other four (as you mention...but not very strongly) were four bad guys. Again, inter-cartel fighting -- not the general public.

4) Recent stats actually show the number of violent incidents has decreased sharply over the past four months -- so there may actually be an improvement already...but your post about "bad news" implies that it's somehow increasing (when it's not).

I invite you to go visit Tijuana again - I go 3-4 times a month. Learn about the new 150 English-speaking police officers that have been assigned to the downtown Tijuana tourism district, and include a picture of those perhaps (not an old picture that is meant to scare people). Just my two pesos.


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.