Drug-related killings soar in Tijuana

More than 45 people have been killed in Tijuana since Saturday in grisly drug violence that appears to signal the end of a nearly yearlong truce between rival crime bosses, according to Mexican authorities.

At some crime scenes, attackers left behind threatening narco-messages, recalling the type of terror tactics used in gang warfare last year that claimed hundreds of lives.

On Sunday, the mutilated body of a man was discovered hanging from an overpass on a busy highway. Two days later, four decapitated bodies were found. That night, heavily-armed gunmen opened fire in a seafood restaurant, killing four people.

Bodies have been turning up all over the city, in parked cars, taco stands and on streets.

At least eight people were killed Wednesday.

Most of the victims appear to be small-time drug dealers or young men with criminal backgrounds, police said.

Gunmen also wounded a state police officer while he was on patrol Monday.

The violence is believed to stem from a feud between rival crime bosses of the Arellano Felix drug cartel.

Fernando Sanchez Arellano, a nephew of the cartel’s founders, has been trying to fend off a challenge from one of his lieutenants, Teodoro Garcia Simental, nicknamed El Teo, authorities say.

The rivals are believed to have agreed to a truce this year, which led to a decrease in the homicide rate. But the recent surge of killings has pushed Tijuana’s death toll this year to about 580.

Last year there were more than 800 slayings.