Mexican authorities on Monday announced the capture of an alleged lieutenant of a top crime boss, along with 21 other organized crime suspects, at a weekend quinceañera party.
The raid Sunday by Mexican soldiers also led to the arrest of eight state police agents and may have struck a serious blow to Teodoro Garcia Simental, a Tijuana organized crime boss who for months has waged a bloody war with a rival group.
Angel Jacome Gamboa, 29, was arrested while attending the party at a banquet hall in east Tijuana. He is a suspect in the killings of 12 Rosarito Beach police officers, said Baja California Atty. Gen. Rommel Moreno Manjarrez at a news conference.
Gamboa, the reputed crime boss of the Rosarito Beach area, is also believed to be responsible for a wave of kidnappings and killings that have besieged the resort destination south of Tijuana for more than a year.
The raid, one of the biggest army-led operations in recent months in Baja California, also led to a kidnap victim's release from a safe house and the seizure of more than a dozen weapons and several hundred rounds of ammunition, military officials said.
Two state police agents were arrested at the party, the rest at unspecified locations across the city. They are suspected of being informants for the organized gang, authorities said. The authorities denied local media reports that some of the agents had worked as bodyguards for state Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan. As a precaution, however, the governor's security detail has been bolstered since the arrests, they said.
Thirty-two other men, including busboys and members of a musical group, were arrested at the party on suspicion of links to organized crime. Many family members gathered at the army base in Tijuana to protest the arrests, saying they were merely attending the party.