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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.

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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.

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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.

richard.marosi@latimes.com


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