La Plaza

News from Latin America and the Caribbean

« Previous Post | La Plaza Home | Next Post »

Tijuana killings may signal fall of Arellano Felix cartel

October 6, 2008 | 10:28 am


The birthplace of one of Mexico's most infamous drug cartels looks more and more like its graveyard. Gunmen and associates of the Arellano Felix cartel, rulers of the city's criminal underworld for two decades, are being massacred by the score, reports Richard Marosi from Tijuana.

Their mangled bodies turn up in garbage-strewn lots, a dozen at a time. Killers cut out their tongues, slice off heads, and leave behind taunting messages. Two barrels of industrial acid left on a sidewalk last week are believed to contain liquefied human remains.

In all, at least 57 suspected organized crime members, a majority of them believed to be part of the Arellano Felix organization, were killed in the last week, including 12 dumped in front of an elementary school Sept. 29 and eight tossed in an industrial yard Thursday.

The carnage may be a sign that the cartel named for the Arellano Felix brothers is fractured and vulnerable to contenders, inside and outside the organization, who are looking to get control of lucrative trafficking routes into the United States, according to law enforcement sources.

Click here for more of the latest gruesome news on Tijuana, and go here for more on Mexico.

Go to our "Mexico Under Siege" page for more reporting on Mexico's drug wars.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: State police officers investigate the scene of a shootout between drug gangs in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 4. Credit: Guillermo Arias / Associated Press