Tijuana drug cartels feel crackdown


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Are Tijuana’s drug kingpins on the run?

Recent Mexican media reports say a crackdown on organized crime, which started in December, has shredded the shield of protection that corrupt local cops once provided to criminals.

The offensive — a highly coordinated effort that includes local and state police, federal agents and the military — has also gained the trust of many Baja California citizens, who are increasingly likely to report crimes.


The cartels feel trapped, according to Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper, and some drug kingpins have left Baja California. Cartel leaders have also tried bribing the army generals spearheading the crackdown.

A recent spate of grisly killings illustrates organized crime’s fear of public cooperation with police, experts and media reports say. Hoping to intimidate potential informants, the killers have tortured many victims and left some with signs hanging from their necks or taped to their bodies.

The narco-messages, as they are called, warn of death for informants. ‘This is how all finger-pointers will finish up,’ said one message hanging from a body this month, according to Tijuana’s Frontera newspaper.

— Richard Marosi