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Body found on Tijuana beach reportedly had drugs, alcohol in system

April 7, 2009 |  8:44 am


Condolences remain in order for the family of Shane Pennington, as Tijuana police have been unable to determine what led to the 19-year-old ending up stabbed to death and lying near a beach nearly two weeks ago close to a bull ring not far from the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, a sad set of circumstances has been revealed. The North Carolina man, who had been working for an Orange County meat company, was identified Monday by his mother. As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Pennington had marijuana, cocaine and alcohol in his system when his body was found March 24. And the knife used to kill him may have been given to him by his mother as a Christmas present.

The Union-Tribune, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, reported that license plate readers recorded Pennington's meat truck driving into Mexico at San Ysidro at about 7:30 p.m. March 23. Three hours earlier, they had recorded the truck driving into the U.S. from Mexico, suggesting that an earlier previous entry into Mexico was made but not recorded.

Salvador Ortiz, assistant attorney general for Baja California, ruled out organized crime, so Pennington was not believed to have crossed one of the drug cartel factions. But nor did he seem to be a typical tourist, which has to come as a relief to Tijuana and Rosarito Beach officials, who have stated repeatedly and still maintain that tourists are not being targeted by warring cartel factions.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo by Kenneth Adelman